Even though you spent many grueling years in medical school and your residency earning the specialized skills and knowledge to become a doctor, medicine is a collaboration between you and your patients. It’s much more difficult to treat someone successfully when that person can’t give you the fullest idea of what he or she is experiencing. Unfortunately, the traditional model of practicing medicine does little to foster good communication between doctor and patient.
Seeing so many patients in a single day means it’s impossible to develop the strong relationship necessary for proper care. You spend so little time with each one that your doctor-patient communication is brief and perfunctory, focused solely on symptoms and providing little insight into the individual’s lifestyle, medical history or personal issues. It can feel at times like your office is a drive-thru window and each patient is just a number waiting to be served.
Tips to Improve Communication With Patients
Knowing how to improve communication between doctors and patients is an important skill if you want to provide better overall care. Here are some examples of ways you can enhance your provider-patient communication:
- Be mindful of your patient’s situation: Focusing too much on a patient’s symptoms ignores all the other factors that influence his or her health. Better doctor-patient communication begins with taking a holistic look that includes assessing his or her recent struggles, health history and personal life. This shows patients that you care about them as people, not as problems to be solved and forgotten about.
- Minimize your bias: It can be difficult to admit that we have prejudices and biases, but it’s important to do so if you want to succeed in improving your doctor-patient communication. Being open-minded means you will connect with patients from all backgrounds.
- Share notes with patients: This is one of the most effective ways of improving doctor-patient communication because it shows patients that your interaction is a two-way street. It also ensures you don’t miss anything important.
- Use an appropriate tone and remain curious: How you say something can be just as important as what you say. Use a caring and empathetic tone of voice and pay attention to cues from the patient about how he or she is feeling. Part of establishing effective communication between doctor and patient is knowing when to tread carefully with regard to potentially sensitive subjects. Keep your eyes and ears open so your patients can tell you care about providing exceptional care.
How Concierge Medicine Makes the Difference
The above tips can be effective ways to strengthen the bond between you and your patients. However, many other practitioners have found success by removing the root cause of most communications problems — the traditional model of medicine itself.
Converting to a concierge practice improves the quality of doctor-patient interactions in a number of ways. For example, delivering care through a subscription service rather than relying on insurance reimbursements means you can serve a smaller, more select client base. This gives you the opportunity to deal with each patient on a more personal level, since you won’t have so many appointments in a given day. As a concierge physician, you will have the time to get to know your patients on a deeper level. Because you’ll have steady, recurring income from subscribers, you’ll also be in more control over your internal processes.
Specialdocs Consultants Can Show You the Way
As the leaders in helping practices convert to the concierge model, Specialdocs Consultants can make the transition as smooth as possible for you, your patients and your staff. We assist you with all aspects of the conversion, from compliance and marketing to retirement planning. Follow the links to learn more about what makes us different as well as the potential benefits for patients. Then, reach out to us to take your first step.