The relationship between healthcare providers and patients is an essential component of a successful overall care experience. Offering your undivided attention to the patient by silencing your pager, closing the door, and not interrupting are ideal methods for letting them know that you value their business. Here are 10 more approaches from the American Academy of Private Physicians that practitioners can use to build and strengthen relationships with their patients.
- Take time to get to know patients. Building a relationship requires knowing more about your patients than just their health issues. Avoid rushing through appointments. Ensuring that patients are comfortable requires approaching them as individuals. Introduce yourself, remember patients’ names, ask questions about their hobbies and families, and engage in discussions.
- Be prepared for appointments. Study your patients’ charts before meeting them in person. They may view it as a waste of time to ask for information contained in their files. Discussing the reason for the visit shows an investment in the patient’s specific needs.
- Always listen. Listening to your patients’ fears or concerns may prompt discussions about alternative treatment plans or referrals to other specialists. Active listening is essential, and patients appreciate a few extra minutes for helpful guidance. When discussing care options, active listening demonstrates value, genuine concern, and appreciation.
- Anticipate what they need. Talking with your patients helps you learn to anticipate their needs. Your patients will appreciate that you are prepared for their appointment, whether it’s in the primary or acute care setting.
- Keep a steady composure. A calm and reassuring health care provider helps relieve the stress of illnesses and dealing with the medical environment. Respect your patients’ choices and preferences with a reassuring smile, eye contact, and appropriate non-verbal gestures when communicating with them.
- Direct them to others who can help. If you need to refer a patient to another specialist, make sure to provide an introduction to establish trust with the new physician. Include all of the members of the patients’ care team to create an atmosphere of comfort and support.
- Provide appropriate education. If you’re not an authority on a particular topic, make sure to provide reliable resources to help educate patients about their condition. Patients trust you to provide information about treatment alternatives and disease outcomes. Understanding the healing process enables them to make educated decisions.
- Follow up. A thoughtful gesture is following-up with your patients, whether it’s after surgery or just an outpatient procedure. Doing so may prompt them to bring up any minor side effects they are experiencing. Above all, follow through with promises to contact them to build credibility and trust.
- Address patients by name and meet their needs in a timely fashion. With health care focusing more on private physicians and patient engagement you need to respond promptly. It may be a challenge to remember each patient’s name, but nothing shows respect better than remembering it.
- Go the extra mile when you can. Make every effort to be available for your patients when they need care. Provide business cards with a cell, pager, or emergency contact number. Making yourself available for your patients increases their comfort and level of trust.
It is essential to establish a professional working relationship with your patients to be successful as a private physician and to understand the impact of the care you provide. You may be a highly qualified and educated doctor, but without building a real connection with each person you treat, it is unlikely you practice will survive. Using these techniques will help healthcare providers develop long-lasting relationships with their patients because it is often the gateway toward a satisfactory therapeutic outcome.