So much of our medical training emphasizes accuracy and efficiency, which is certainly critical. But, it can be easy to forget about the many ways we can create personal patient connections. Here are a few of our most successful tips:
Take a Mindful Moment
Before entering the exam room, take a minute to be mindful and present. It can be easy to carry the previous patient experience – especially stressful or heartbreaking ones – into the next patient interaction. We recommend you pause long enough to feel the ground supporting you under both feet then take a deep cleansing breath.
Take a Seat
In a Johns Hopkins study, researchers followed two groups of medical interns for a month and found they sat down at the bedside only 9% of the time. When you take a moment to stop and sit down, it helps you to make eye contact and focus on the patient, which creates greater trust and makes a big difference in patient satisfaction.
Have a Conversation
Being a patient can be scary and stressful – not to mention the physical symptoms they may be feeling. To help ease their stay, take the time to get to know your patients. Ask about their family, friends, interests. Try asking open-ended questions, like, “How are you feeling today?”This communicates your desire to understand them as a person, not just as a patient and can be an easy way to learn how to build rapport with your patients.
Matching the patient’s demeanor, disposition, and tone quickly establishes rapport. This may even mean raising your voice to match a loud patient or lowering your voice and toning down your movements with a shy patient. Using mirroring to become attuned to the patient can be especially helpful during difficult conversations.booking appointmentsbooking appsdentist tipsdoctor tipspatient doctor communicationpersonal patient connectionsphysician best practices