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October Update  Hr

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 include:


 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.

Verbal Communication

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.

Non-verbal Communication

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!

InlineActive 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 sympathy

 - 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 measure up? With our exhaustive 130 point mystery shopping review, you’ll know the answer. Give us a call or email Jamie today to discuss how our mystery shopping services can ensure practice growth in 2010!