If there is anything true about the healthcare industry, it’s the fact that time is always in short supply. With so many things happening simultaneously in the medical environment, there is almost none of it left to spend actually connecting with patients. Despite this, doctors must try their best to pay attention to the humans they are trying to heal. After all, the main reason people aspire to become doctors in the first place is to help heal others. However, in order to have a good chance at understanding any person’s health issues, effective communication between doctor and patient is vital – and the path to that lies in building a strong doctor-patient relationship. Following are five secrets to setting an environment that encourages improved rapport with patients.
- Be Prepared – The worst thing a doctor could do to make a patient feel unimportant is to be unprepared during visits. People may feel like you don’t care about them at all, and if you are in the habit of failing to prepare for patients, then you probably don’t. Be aware of each patients’ medical history and remind yourself of any previous discussions or visits. By the time your patient walks into your office, you should already be up to speed with their case so that you do not waste any time grasping for facts you should already know. The idea is to have a friendly greeting, then immediately pick up where you last left off and start progressing towards your patient’s wellness.
- Listen First – Listen to your patients in full. Nobody’s time is more important than another’s – and this is something that should be understood by physicians and staff members alike. When it’s time for a patient to share their story, sit down, clear your mind, and pay full attention. Nothing irritates people more than being interrupted or rushed out of the door before they are finished expressing themselves, so don’t do it. Be sure to get every single detail thrown at you. One good habit is to record your patients for your own reference – just make sure to get their consent prior to recording.
- Find Common Ground – When discussing with patients, try to gauge where they are coming from and listen intently. Each patient differs in personality, preference, and priorities. Try to find common ground with the patient by determining what you can both agree on as being important – then angle your approach through it. Make sure to be honest though. Sugarcoating or avoiding the truth does not help anybody and may serve to complicate matters in the long run.
- Understand Your Patient’s Story – To know their patients, doctors must really try to uncover the story behind each and every one of them. Health clues lie in the way a person lives, the environment they live in, and in their genetic history – so being aware of these details can help diagnose and treat someone effectively. Feel free to share little bits about yourself as this often puts others at ease, and in general try to be approachable and likeable so that patients feel comfortable sharing details about themselves. Note down any relevant details about them you might find and apply them to your research.
- Be Aware Of Patient’s Emotions – Though doctors view the healthcare industry as a profession, patients have different needs, expectations, and situations. The subject of health can become a very sensitive and emotional encounter, and it is important to be aware of what triggers emotions in your patients. Analyze the situation and make sure to avoid pushing a patient too far. Knowing your limits can spell the difference between becoming a trusted physician or losing a client.
Medicine can be an extremely rewarding career, but it is also one of the most difficult and stressful professions on Earth. That’s why TukkoMed exists – to provide assistance to doctors all over America that want to focus more on their patients than on their papers. Get in touch with us today to find out more about what we can do for you.