doctor patient communication

Three Essential Tips For Improving Doctor Patient Communication

Do you feel like things are getting lost in translation at work? Here are are easy tips for improving doctor-patient communication.

It can be frustrating for a physician when their patients leave the consult unsatisfied. Many patients might tell their doctor they understand when in reality they don’t.

Improving doctor-patient communication is something everyone could get better at.

Here are a few tips for improving communication with your patients.

Ask Open-Ended Questions

Improving communication with a patient is as easy as asking open-ended questions.

If you ask yes or no questions, patients might agree with you even if they don’t understand what you’re saying. Open-ended questions will get more information out of the patient.

Asking Questions

Have an Idea of the Patient’s Literacy

Medical terminology is tough to know, but some patients come more prepared than others.

Before you begin explaining a procedure or their condition, it’s crucial you access their level of medical literacy.

If they’re too familiar with medical terms, you will need to explain to them in easier to understand terms. Or you could tell them what each term means.

The same thing goes for patients with language barriers. If the patient is not fluent, make sure you take your time explaining.

Implement Teach-Back Methods

Since most patients don’t understand every single medical term, you should make sure they do.

A teach-back method can help you understand the level of understanding of your patient.

Ask them to repeat back the information you conveyed to them to ensure they understand what you said.

They should be able to let you know in their own words what they understood from the conversation.

take a surveyPatient Satisfaction Survey

A great way to improve communication with your patients is by asking them how they want you to communicate with them.

You should ask them to participate in a survey after their visit so you can get feedback on your communication style.

Many patients don’t complain even if they’ve had a bad experience, so a survey can provide excellent feedback.

Leave Bias Practices at the Door

Patients can detect certain bias practices right away. You should make sure your patients can never detect negativity in the way you communicate with them.

Some patients might come in feeling self-conscious about their ethnicity, gender, socio-economic status, age, or religion and it’s your job as their physician to make them feel like these stigmas don’t matter.

Effective Communication

If you have to deliver bad news to your patient, the best way to do it is by using effective communication methods.

When delivering bad news to a patient, the way you communicate can make a difference.

Patients respond better when their physician is understanding and empathetic to their situation.

In a problematic situation, patients are more likely to remember if their physician was disrespectful and apathetic rather than the actual conversation.

Also, be available 24×7. If you can’t, consider a live medical answering service. They can handle calls using a menu driven solution to help your patients get answers to commonly asked questions.

Doctor-Patient Communication: The Bottom Line

Effective and clear doctor-patient communication is essential for everybody. You should always make sure your patients’ expectations are met.

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2 thoughts on “Improving Doctor Patient Communication”

  1. I never thought about how doctors should use customer surveys to get unbiased feedback on how they are performing. My son wants to start working as a doctor that visits the patient’s homes and is trying to find the best way to do the job well. I will certainly share this information with him so he can make a plan to enter the field successfully.

  2. Although I am not a doctor I still would like to visit a doctor soon and be able to communicate effectively with them. Sometimes it can be difficult to understand fully what your doctor is saying to you because you don’t understand the words or lingo they are using. I will try your tip about plainly stating to your doctor how you would like to be communicated with so that we are on the same page.

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