6 Ways to Improve Your Physician Patient Relationship

Physician Patient Relationship

A solid physician patient relationship is built on a foundation of trust and understanding. For patients, it’s about being able to trust that the physician has their best interests at heart; that their time and concerns will be accorded the proper respect. For you, as a physician, it’s about being able to understand what the patient needs, even when it conflicts with what they may want. It’s a delicate balancing act between keeping patients healthy, and keeping them happy with the services you provide. Here are six strategies for improving each physician patient relationship you build.

Get the Staff Involved

There are no unimportant roles when it comes to building trust with patients. With this in mind, make a plan that includes your entire staff in patient care, including:

  • Clearly defined staff roles – Each staff member should know how you expect them to contribute to patient care.
  • Daily morning meetings – Go over the day’s schedule and identify patients who may need extra care, times of high patient volume that may increase wait times, and opportunities to build stronger relationships with patients.
  • Improved patient pre-screening – Appointment scheduling offers staff an opportunity to evaluate patients before they come into the office. Patients should be asked basic questions like “What’s the reason for your visit today?” and “Do you have any specific requests for the physician?”
  • Lower patient wait times – Patients made to wait overlong for their appointment may feel as though their time and concerns are not being given the proper respect. Encourage staff to monitor waiting times; provide regular updates to those waiting, especially if there’s a delay.

Develop Effective Staff Communication

Communicating effectively with staff is an important part of meeting the needs of your patients. Keep a close eye on patient interactions that have proven difficult in the past. Give your staff better tools to deal with problems, whether it’s a script for difficult patients, additional training in personal interactions, or other techniques developed specifically for your staff.

Develop Patient Feedback Techniques

An excellent way to gauge patient satisfaction is to give them options for feedback. Email or mail-in surveys, patient satisfaction questionnaires, and other feedback tools can help you improve your patient interactions, while also reassuring patients that their needs and comfort are important to you.

Understand Patient Concerns

Each patient will have different concerns, even those who have the same diagnosis. Take some time at each visit to make sure you understand the patient’s concerns, and use your staff to gather relevant information whenever patient interactions take place.

Cultivate Your Patient Care Style

Every doctor has their own style of patient care; it’s important to find and cultivate yours. Patients respond better to physicians who feel comfortable in their role as a caregiver. Warmth is as important as professionalism in patient satisfaction; finding the balance that best fits you is an important part of building a stronger physician patient relationship.

Be Welcoming

Offer patients a welcoming, warm environment to foster better physician patient relationships. Bright colors and patient perks like WiFi can change a patient’s entire outlook about your practice. Don’t be afraid to make them feel comfortable while they wait.

Building a Better Physician Patient Relationship

While implementing some of these strategies will help you build more trust with your patients, putting all six into place will create a space where patients feel well cared for and respected. These strategies will not only help build stronger relationships with your patients, they’ll also ensure your staff knows what you expect and help your practice run more smoothly.

Elliot Health System believes in building strong physician patient relationships. If you’d like to join a health system that is committed to building and maintaining that bond, consider a career with us. 

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