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Home Health 10 Ways to Improve Patient Communication in Your Medical Practice

10 Ways to Improve Patient Communication in Your Medical Practice

Did you know that roughly 43 million medical error cases are reported annually?

Yes, patients don’t always receive quality care from medical professionals. So, it’s normal to be concerned about what you can do to provide better care.

Luckily, we have one of the most effective solutions: Improve doctor-to-patient communication. How do you do this? Read on for tips to ensure proper patient communication in your practice.

1. Invest in Technology

You can significantly improve patient communication by getting suitable software systems. One such system is an electronic health record program. It enables you to store patient information in one place.

This way, you don’t have to collect the same patient information multiple times. It also allows faster dissemination of information among medical personnel. This ultimately translates to improved medical patient communication.

You can also invest in other medical software programs like online appointment schedulers. Using technology where appropriate streamlines processes, which is essential for quality communication.

2. Give Patients Time

Sure, medical professionals are so busy they barely have time for themselves. Nevertheless, create time for all your patients. Don’t appear hurried or distracted when talking with them.

Rather than standing by their bedsides, sit down and encourage them to ask questions. And ensure you have top-notch nonverbal communication skills since patients are very observant.

3. Be Empathetic

This is one of the most highlighted qualities in the medical profession, and with reason. Patients won’t hold your level of care in high regard if you don’t show empathy. In fact, some may mistrust your medical opinions and seek alternative care.

So, ensure you show empathy at all stages of care. Let all your patients feel cared for, respected, and heard. Also, consider promoting peer support among patients to supplement your level of care.

This will encourage them to express their concerns about their health. It’ll also reassure them that you understand their situations.

4. Develop a Feedback Loop

Patient autonomy is one of the core ethical principles in healthcare delivery. It requires physicians to allow patients to make independent decisions about their health. To ensure quality results, physicians must first educate their patients.

This is where a feedback loop becomes essential. Don’t just accept patients’ nods as signs that they’ve understood whatever you’re explaining. Many will nod even when they don’t understand.

Instead, use the teach-back method, where you ask patients to explain what you’ve told them. That’ll highlight the comprehension gaps you need to fill to ensure quality care. You can also use open-ended questions to allow them to express themselves freely.

5. Follow Up After Treatment

Communicating with patients shouldn’t end after they leave your office. It’s essential to make follow-up communication a vital part of your culture.

Reach out to patients through phone surveys or scheduled follow-up visits. Take this time to assess your previous communication, and identify issues needing improvement.

However, don’t focus so much on assessing yourself that you forget the patient comes first. Be sure to ask them how they’re doing. That’ll make future communication smoother since the patients will feel valued.

6. Train Employees

Often, physicians focus so much on improving themselves and forget about their employees. Your nurses and other support staff will interact more with patients than you do. So, you’ll need to make sure they know how to conduct effective communication.

You can only ensure proper nurse-patient communication by offering regular training. Hire a professional to conduct the training if your budget allows it. Have the nurses act out different situations interacting with patients to highlight problems.

7. Schedule Regular Meetings

Apart from training your employees, you also need to hold frequent meetings with them. Let these meetings focus on your communication strengths and weaknesses. Remember, continuous learning is essential to improving patient communication.

Take this time to review patients’ feedback and ask for your employees’ opinions. They may provide valuable ideas since they’re more involved with them.

8. Eliminate Bias

Preconceived assumptions and biases about certain patients can affect your relationship. They’re less likely to open up if you show any sign of bias.

So, always assume you know nothing about your patients when meeting with them. Ask as many questions as necessary, as long as they’re directed towards ensuring proper care.

Also, collaborate with your patients throughout the treatment process. Don’t impose treatments without considering their beliefs.

Furthermore, always accept your limitations, especially when treating foreign patients. Assuming you can handle things beyond your understanding could cause miscommunication. In this case, hire an interpreter to help you navigate cultural and language barriers.

9. Don’t Use Medical Jargon

Medical jargon is a leading communication killer between physicians and patients. Patients who haven’t gone to medical school won’t understand complex terms.

Strive to use simple words when communicating with them. That’ll make it easier for them to understand your diagnosis and stick to treatment.

It’ll also help make the communication two-sided rather than one-sided. After all, you can only engage in conversations you understand.

10. Be Honest

Yes, this is tough, especially when dealing with sensitive patients. But transparency and honesty are vital for a good patient-physician relationship.
Don’t tell your patients lies in the hope of shielding them from emotional turmoil. It’ll only do the opposite and could land you in legal trouble.

Be honest but empathetic, especially when delivering bad news. Patients value this and will be more willing to collaborate with you.

Improve Patient Communication to Grow Your Medical Practice

Improving patient communication isn’t as difficult as you may think. Something as simple as giving your patients time can make a difference.
Remember, effective communication translates to better quality care.

So, implement the strategies in this article as soon as possible.

Did you find this article helpful? If so, explore our blog for other helpful topics on business, lifestyle, travel, and more.

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