The need for a solid doctor-patient relationship is often overlooked. In general, this could be because of the impossible demand placed on modern-day doctors. It’s not enough that they have to deal with bureaucratic healthcare systems and the re-emergence of deadly diseases. They also have to bear the daily pressure of holding people’s lives in their hands.
For this reason, attention to the relationship between doctor and patient has unfortunately taken a backseat. However, healthcare professionals trained in relationship strategies actually produce more successful outcomes. So, why are they more successful? And how can doctors foster good relationships with patients?
Why It Matters
1. Rapport Equals Higher Chances of Treatment Success
Clinicians have limited time with patients. Between administrative duties and handling electronic health records, it’s a wonder how they still manage to see a long line of patients. So, it’s tempting to just cut to the chase. Diagnose the issue and administer the treatment plan fast. But this jeopardizes the valuable opportunity for establishing communication and trust.
Patients who don’t feel safe would not disclose symptoms that they find embarrassing or unusual. Since knowing as much as possible about the patient’s core issue is significant to producing an accurate diagnosis, this poses a problem.
When patients feel heard, there is also a higher chance of adherence to the suggested treatment. A good doctor and patient relationship will cause the patient to be more likely to follow treatment plans. This could lead to patient care satisfaction and improved health.
2. Fights Burn Out
Understandably, burnout is a constant threat for doctors. The demands of this profession are many; the risks are high. Nonetheless, making sure that you establish a good rapport with patients can help you rediscover the joy of medicine.
As you focus on them, you’ll remember that the patients are indeed vulnerable people with worries and fears. They are no longer just cases or admissions in your daily schedule.
Naturally, patients who have their doctor’s focus would flourish. This could result in reduced ER visits and decreased rates of readmission. Watching your patients recover under your care will make you feel that it was all worth it.
How To Improve Your Doctor-Patient Relationship
Besides familiarizing yourself with the patient’s file, there are other ways to facilitate a successful appointment. Read these tips to help you fully engage with your patients:
1. Listen actively
While you might be paying attention, you need to communicate that you are. Simple things like establishing good eye contact, leaning forward, and allowing them to explain without interruption can really make a difference.
2. Pay attention to their emotional cues
Be present. Validate your patient’s emotions to show that you are following the story and that you care. Observe their faces to look for signs. Are they in pain? Are they afraid?
3. Empathise with them
Put yourself in their shoes. Voice out when they do something right. Acknowledge their frustrations when things did not turn out as expected.
With the right mindset, you will find that at the core of a successful relationship between a doctor and patient is simply a keen interest in humanity. It is not surprising to find that patient care is just that–caring for the patient.
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