Patients today expect more from their physician experience than ever before. Communication and transparency are of utmost importance to many patients, but the more fundamental aspects of the relationship should not be ignored. Patients visit physicians in varying states of vulnerability. They are looking for someone to trust, especially when sharing personal details about their health, family and history.
For physicians this means balancing the ever increasing demands of their work with the ability to form meaningful bonds with their patients. A strong physician/patient relationship makes for a positive patient experience and is essential to providing quality care. The more you can make patients feel at home, the more likely you are to earn their loyalty and referrals. There are a number of ways that medical practices can make patients feel welcome, trusting and nurtured.
Positive, personal engagement with patients – by physicians as well as staff – is fundamental to a successful medical practice. What follows are a couple of skills that can be nurtured to improve one on one interactions with patients.
Presence – There are a number of tasks competing to take a physician’s attention away from the patient at hand. According the Institute for Healthcare Excellence, half of preventable medical errors occur because of communication breakdown between patients and health care providers. These mistakes can range from the innocuous to the dangerous. Consider tapping into the wealth of information about presence and mindfulness available on the internet to sharpen this vital skill.
Actively Listen – Outcomes improve when patients can tell their full story. Many of us interrupt or tune out once we think we have gathered the most important information in any situation. It is human nature. Active listening involves not interrupting a speaker and listening to what they are saying through to the end. With patients this translates to listening to all of their concerns before deciding that they have already touched on the most important. Studies show that patients believe their doctors are too busy to really listen to them. Actively listening will not only insure you get all of the important details from your patient, it will make the patient know that you are listening.
Electronic Health Records are powerful tools used for diagnostic coding, data capture, clinical visit summaries and more. An EHR will help aggregate patient data and allow your practice to share the data with the patient and other healthcare providers securely. They also happen to be excellent tools to engage patients in their own healthcare. EHR can provide the kind of transparency many patients look for.
Giving some thought and implementing the ideas above will go a long way in improving your relationship with patients.
ProMD Practice Management has years of experience training medical office staff and can help improve those relationships. We also offer excellent EHR systems that are powerful yet easy to use.
ProMD Practice Management is happy to help with your billing assessment needs so you can maximize profits and increase patient satisfaction. To learn more about how ProMD can make your practice run like a well-oiled machine, call 888-622-7498 or fill out our online form to request a billing assessment.