1. Show Patients That You Actually Care
Of course, you care. You wouldn’t be a doctor if you didn’t care, right? It’s not always clear to patients that doctors actually care. Remember that most patients don’t want to be in your office. They are often feeling bad or scared or both, so they are in a particularly vulnerable situation. Listen, empathize, and treat patients the way you would want to be treated.
2. Give Patients a Say in their Treatment
Lay out the options. Tell them what you would do if it was your loved one. And, then ask how they want to proceed. If they choose a course that you don’t agree with, have a conversation about why you think it’s a bad idea and
3. Educate Yourself on Non-traditional Treatments and Keep a Straight Face
Your patients are taking over the counter supplements, using essential oils, and Googling for treatments…. whether you want them to or not. If you give them the stink eye about these things, they will just lie to you. Would you rather know what your patient was taking or not??
Choose to educate yourself on the non-traditional treatments so you can speak openly with your patients about them. It’s okay to say that you aren’t a fan of them and that there is a huge lack of research on the efficacy and dangers. It’s okay to say that we don’t know the long-term effects of these things. It’s okay to say that taking them in lieu of real medicine can be dangerous.
The key is to have an open, informed conversation.
4. Read the Paperwork You Have Patients Fill Out
It’s not okay to have patients fill out 10 minutes of paperwork and not look at it. It is okay to read it in front of the patient. You are human. You aren’t expected to know everything about every patient. Want the patient to feel like you spent more time with them? Scan their paperwork in front of them. Walk in, greet them, and say “Give me just a minute to read through your paperwork” or “Give me a second to refresh my memory on your medical history/prescriptions.”
About the Author
Amanda Brummitt has extensive healthcare customer service experience in hospitals, medical practices, and as a consultant. She’s a customer service snob that thinks asking people to be nice isn’t asking too much. She believes that the vast majority of doctors are good people that care about their patients and that sometimes they just need a little help conveying that.