My neighbor recently shared an insightful story about his 85-year-old father’s routine quarterly visits to his physician. Despite having no significant medical conditions and not taking any maintenance medication, the elderly man found these visits to be unproductive, mainly because the doctor appeared distant and uninterested.
In response to his father’s concerns, my neighbor decided to accompany him to the next appointment and identified the root issue: communication. The father’s hearing impairment prevented him from fully understanding the doctor’s instructions, leading to frustration and withdrawal. On the other hand, the doctor, assuming there were no pressing medical issues, tended to rush through the appointments.
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Ultimately, the lack of trust in their doctor’s ability to provide adequate care led the father to seek a new physician. This experience underscores a critical aspect of healthcare – trust. For most patients, trust hinges on a genuine, compassionate, and transparent relationship with their healthcare provider. (Why Every Healthcare Organization Should Blog)
Here are some valuable ways to enhance patient trust and satisfaction:
- Prioritize Communication
In the article “How to Build Trust Between Patient and Provider” by Jill Arnold and Dr. Henry Dorn, they stress the importance of asking patients for consent and providing clear explanations for medical procedures, even if it takes a little extra time.
- Address Patient Concerns
Patients often seek information from various sources, including books and the Internet. Respect their efforts to understand their health and correct any misconceptions without taking offense.
- Offer Additional Resources
Providing patients with pamphlets, recommended websites, or books can empower them to better comprehend their conditions. Sometimes, visual aids, like the neurologist’s drawing, can be immensely helpful.
- Active Listening
Effective communication requires attentive listening. Avoid making assumptions based on prior knowledge and seek to understand the patient’s complete perspective. Don’t hesitate to ask clarifying questions to ensure accuracy.
- Nurture Long-Term Relationships
As highlighted in the Executive Healthcare article “Improving Patient Trust” by Henry Ross, it’s essential to make patients feel heard, understood, and respected. Building a trusting, long-term rapport with patients goes a long way in improving their healthcare experience.
How can you enhance your patients’ experience?