Properly educating patients allows them to play a significant role in their own care. Because of this, physicians have a duty to accurately inform their patients, but to do so in a way that is clear and understandable. To be effective, patient education needs to be more than just regurgitating tired instructions and information. Here are five techniques that can help improve physician-patient communication.
Remember that you are trying to comprehend the patient’s message and then assess so don’t rush into explanations and allow interruptions. There are occasions where a patient simply wants someone to listen to his or her feelings. By rushing into a quick reply, it can make them feel as if their concerns are being dismissed. Patients often have their own plan, and listening to them with purpose may reveal important concerns, underlying issues and useful diagnostic information.
Physicians have a reputation for rushing, so make a conscious effort to slow it down. A simple approach is to pause often, creating a strategic silence. This gives time for the patient to think and allow information to sink in. It can be especially important when delivering bad news as a patient’s mind will need time to reset and recuperate. It allows the patient more time to process and speak, while you implement your tools for listening.
Avoid overusing medical verbiage.
When talking to patients, medical jargon can seem like a foreign language. Be sure you avoid complex terms, break down big concepts and most importantly just keep it simple.
Patients want to feel a “we are in this together” type bond with their physicians. It’s imperative that you focus on details that help build your relationship. Focus on eye contact, using the patient’s name repeatedly, ask the right questions and showing compassion without judgement.
A physician’s day is hectic to say the least. However, a patient’s emotional health shouldn’t get lost in the hustle and bustle. The tone with which you speak can lessen pain and reduce anxiety. Focus on facial expressions, body language, time spent and acknowledgment of patient feelings to express concern and understanding. Genuine caring and concern has a long-term impact that surpasses a doctor’s appointment so keep this in mind every time you see a patient.
Communication is critical to providing high-level quality care and establishing a strong patient-doctor relationship. Ultimately, a practice’s ability to interact with patients will play a huge role in building a strong relationship. Developing communication methods that nurture this relationship will help keep patients satisfied, engaged and loyal.Posted by