Strong communication and relationship building are some of the most important skills in the medical field. Having a better understanding of the needs of your patients leads to a better experience for practice and patient. It is so important for medical personnel of all levels to practice these crucial skills on a daily basis. The following list suggests some of the ways you can begin improving your patient communication within your own practice.
Keep It Simple
One of the most common frustrations patients express is that their doctors fail to explain in simple terms what they are facing and how they can overcome it. Add stress and fear to this confusion and you have the makings of a horrible doctor experience. This is why it is so important for doctors to learn how to communicate in simple terms. It isn’t because your patients are not smart, but because they don’t hear these terms on a daily basis. You run the high risk of missing crucial information because the patient may not understand the severity of their diagnosis.
Use Preferred Communication Methods
There are many ways to engage patients regarding health plans, and not only do people have personal preferences, but those preferences often change. You might notice that each generation of patients may have a preferred way of communication with the outside world. Older patients might want you to phone them to provide them with updates. Boomers or middle-aged patients might want you to send them an email. Millennials and Gen Z patients understand many forms of technology. They will often be the easiest to communicate with in some ways, but they are harder to speak to on the phone.
Slow It Down
You might understand the root cause for their visit, but you will never understand how they feel within their own body. A great way to improve patient communication is to simply slow down and listen. It can be tempting to interrupt or focus on a solution to the first thing they mention, but resist the urge. Patients do want to hear your input, but they also want to be heard. Often this method might change your way of approaching the issue. Ask clarifying questions and be willing to take the conversation at a very slow pace to show that you value communication.
Patient and doctor communication in all its forms is important in seeing a positive result. It is well worth your time and effort to consider and use these methods to improve communication within your practice. We can help you with other small adjustments and improvements in the way you run your practice to create strong patient relationships and achieve success.