(e)Merging Practice Growth Trends:
Beyond Clinical Care: The Power of Building
Relationships with your Patients
We all know the physician-patient relationship
plays a significant role in health care; when 192
patients were asked what an ideal physician is to them,
the highest responses included respectful, personal,
empathetic, and confident. These personal skills ranked
much higher than clinical skills in this study and while
clinical skills and medical knowledge certainly are
important, we cannot discredit the need for building
relationships with patients. There are many ways to
build a physician-patient relationship but some of the
most important people skills required are simple and
In a national survey of 5,000 Americans, patients who said they were
treated with respect during appointments were more
likely to report higher levels of satisfaction with
their care and receive preventative services and
recommended testing. This demonstrates that with
greater respect being shown to the patients comes a
better respect for the physician’s recommendations and a
high compliance rate with follow-up care.
Effective communication is crucial to building
relationships with your patients. Physicians need to be
able to explain things clearly to patients so they can
understand the status of their health as well as
explaining it in a relatable way. Your communication
should not be a one-way street. Encourage your patients
to engage in the conversation, including bringing along
a health advocate partner to assist them in asking
questions and taking notes during their appointments.
And, become an active listener; when physicians take the
time to listen to what their patients have to say they
feel valued and supported.
A study from Northwestern University Feinberg School of
Medicine found that 78% of patients surveyed wanted
their physicians to shake their hand upon entering the
room for the first time. It seems like a simple gesture,
but one would be surprised at the number of physicians
who do not offer a hand shake. Sitting down face to
face, at eye level with your patients is another
important non-verbal gesture. This communication allows
you to provide a more personalized experience and shows
patients that you are focusing completely on them,
without adding extra time to their visit.
It’s clear that a physician’s people skills can affect
the emotional responses and recovery of their patients.
Having the ability to listen carefully to patients,
explain things clearly, and respect patients will make
for an effective physician-patient relationship and
create a positive healthcare outcome. Patients want to
feel understood and take an active role in their health.
Building those relationships in the exam rooms everyday
are important in order to maintain current patients and
grow your practice.
Put it into Practice!
listening is vital to building patient relationships and
there are many ways to display this style of communication.
To practice active listening:
- Verbally respond to your patients concerns while showing respect and
- Use eye contact to let your patients know they have your full attention
- Use body language to show your concern and attention by facing the
patient and sitting at eye level
These tips will allow you to maintain positive relationships
with your patients and help your practice GROW!
How does your practice
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shopping review, you’ll know the answer. Give us a call or
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