Four Tips for Positive Patient Communication
New physicians have spent several years learning how to diagnose patients and treat their ailments. However, when it comes to communicating with patients, physicians who are new to working can have a difficult time establishing a positive rapport. We have gathered four tips for positive patient communication that new obstetrician-gynecologists can use on their day-to-day rounds.
Understand What Your Patient Shares and Encourage Explanation
One way to build positive communication with patients is to understand what your patient is sharing with you and encourage further explanation. The American Medical Association notes that you should ask patients to explain what their health concerns might be while then repeating concerns back to your patient. This shows patients that you are listening. It also gives you the opportunity to consider what other questions you may need to ask about your patient's health.
Ask Questions about Your Patient's Life
As your patient's obstetrician-gynecologist, you are responsible for helping them lead a healthier life. Many physicians, however, forget that patients share more about their health conditions when they feel comfortable. Establishing a rapport with your patients leads to better medicine and better health. Ask questions about your patient's life as well as their potential health conditions. It can be helpful to carry a small index card in your pocket with a few standard questions you can ask. Consider asking your patient about their favorite hobbies, where they work, how their children are doing in school, or what type of vacation they are planning for their Christmas break. Basic questions about the patient's life will help the patient feel more connected to you and build a positive rapport.
Have Responses in Place for Billing Concerns
One patient concern that new physicians often face and are inexperienced in dealing with is the billing concern. Patients often have billing concerns and want to address those concerns with their practitioners. However, most practitioners are not knowledgeable about the billing system at their practice and do not have the time to access and review medical billing records. Managed billing software makes it easy for your support staff to review billing information and answer patient questions. Have responses in place for billing concerns and be ready to point your patients towards your support staff.
Smile More Often
Unless you are delivering bad news, remember to smile more often with patients. You don't need to throw on a large cheesy grin, but a small smile is more welcoming than a serious face or frown. You want patients to feel comfortable in your office and providing a welcoming face is important.
Patients can be difficult, and it is not always easy to provide diagnostics and positive conversation. Use these four tips to create positive communication and better relationships with your patients.
Article Originally Published on ACOG Career Connection