In this day and age, expectations are high when it comes to healthcare. Patients are more conscious and deliberate. They want their needs to be met quickly, effectively, and with care. But the fast pace of the healthcare environment hinders a patient's (to their dissatisfaction) from being heard most of the time.
Suppose patients feel like their concerns are not taken seriously or their voices are ignored. In that case, it can result in missed medication schedules, errors in their records, increased health problems, and overall poor healthcare quality.
Communication is the key to success in every relationship. It is no different in healthcare. Understanding how to communicate with your patients effectively will help you be a better doctor and deliver a satisfactory patient experience.
Here are five tips to help you foster effective doctor-patient interactions:
Many doctor-patient interactions fail early on because of assumptions that the doctor has drawn. This is why it is vital to allow patients to voice their concerns and be receptive to them. This will entail you asking more questions and letting your patient describe their situation in detail. Your patients will feel respected and valued when you ask their opinion on things.
The key to a successful doctor-patient interaction lies in the doctor’s ability to listen to their patients. For a doctor to provide the best possible care, they must understand each patient's unique needs.
Show care and interest in the patient you are treating by actively listening to them. Show that you are engaged in your patient’s needs, thoughts, and emotions through your words, tone, facial expressions, and body language. It takes time to listen. The patient will see that you are genuinely interested in their health and well-being, which leads to compliance.
It’s not just about the technical side of medicine and prescribing the right prescription. There’s a psychological aspect attached as well. People's emotions, as well as what's going on in their lives, shape who they are.
This is why it’s so important to take your time and slow down during doctor-patient interactions. Ask your patients questions about their situation and let them know you will be there for them every step of the way.
In some situations, you may need to manage your patient’s expectations about treatments and recovery. When you have a conversation with your patient, try to put yourself in their shoes. Let them know what to expect.
Take the time to outline any possible complications or side effects, treatment options, long-term outlook, and alternative treatments. Vague answers leave patients wondering why they received a specific treatment or, worse yet, feeling a sense of mistrust or a lack of confidence in their doctor.
Try to understand what your patients are concerned about and acknowledge their concerns if they become upset. You should remember that this is a stressful time for the patient, and they are more likely to be emotional.
Effective communication is essential to have a successful doctor-patient interaction. You can change a patient's perception of you by making them feel understood, valued, and heard. The results could ultimately improve their health by complying with medication schedules, treatment regimens, and follow-up appointments. When you create a strong doctor-patient relationship, your patients feel heard and understood.