February 19, 2022 - Parul Saini, Webmedy Team
Patient satisfaction is the most important factor guiding quality improvement in the healthcare setting while the patient-centered care movement places increasing importance on patient engagement in clinical decision-making.
When we think about the patient-doctor relationship in this light, we realize just how important it is for the relationship to be a healthy one. When the relationship is strong, your patient's health will improve. When it is not, the patient may suffer from a lack of clarity about the disease and diagnosis. According to a study, patients are expecting the same facilities and customer service from their medical practitioner as they would from a bank, hotel, or airline. While choosing a medical practitioner, active listening and transparency are the top priorities for patients.
In this blog, we are going to explain what patients want from their healthcare providers.
A patient's experience matters more than ever, not only because your doctor wants you to be well, but because policies and awareness are driving healthcare like never before. So patients have rights, including the right to participate in their healthcare rather than being inactive patients.
It is acceptable if a physician does not know everything about their illness or diagnosis, but patients expect their doctors to share as much as possible. Uncertainty is okay, as long as patients are aware of the truth. Also, patients understand that doctors are humans, too, and that medical errors do occur. While patients usually never demand retribution, they do want a confession of the error and an assurance that the doctor is trying to fix the error. You must always educate your patients on the success rate and the risks involved with related procedures.
Patients understand that physicians have emergencies but also know that physicians do not have emergencies every day. Repeated long waits tell patients that physicians are uncaring and disorganized. The solutions to the problem are to schedule same-day illness appointments at the end of the morning after you are done with scheduled patients.
Physicians need to describe things in a way patients can understand, and they need to keep doing so until they're certain the patient comprehends the information. This means explaining with clarity and empathy – not in medical jargon.
Patients want their doctor to be engaged in the appointment—to demonstrate an interest in gathering all the facts and truly understanding the issue at hand. Physicians do this by asking the patient for clarification on what they've shared, and digging deeper to uncover additional information.
Physicians need to return phone calls every day and notify patients of test results as soon as they come in. Worried patients should not have to worry needlessly. When physicians communicate quickly physicians tell them that they care.
You can easily relate to your patient by asking about the daily schedule or eating habits. This kind of interaction creates a sense of connection, which will show your patient that you care. Always try to know and develop great relationships with your patients. If the patient is comfortable, feel free to ask about personal histories, daily routine, and lifestyle preferences. The medications that you prescribe may have side effects, and you must educate the patients about the potential risks and benefits. Also, patients are more likely to follow your instructions and return to your practice if they feel connected to you.
Physicians can further act as partners by educating patients about their treatment options, including ones that don't necessarily involve medications. Patients want to be armed with options, and they expect to have each option thoroughly explained before making a decision.
If your patient is feeling cold, arrange for a blanket. If thirsty, get some water. Without addressing these underlying human needs, impressive offices and state-of-the-art equipment are useless. So forget the fancy ceiling and lighting and hire medical staff who will treat your patients with compassion and dignity. Also, patients will wait if they get what they want. Patients are not unhappy because they had to wait 30 minutes but because they did not get what they expected during their appointment with you. Do not make your patients wait for 45 minutes and then spend five minutes with them during the appointment. Such acts will make your patients feel ignored and disrespected.
During an appointment, don't make the mistake of rushing through instructions at an unintelligible pace. Be accurate and clear, and try to type out instructions that the patients can pick up when they leave. Always take the time to explain and simplify technical and medical terminology.
If a doctor is an active listener, patients will feel comfortable sharing every piece of information, including sensitive topics, assumptions, related myths, and much more. To develop the best patient-doctor relationship, your patients must find you trustworthy enough to talk about other factors that affect their health. If they do not, you might not have made enough effort to earn their trust.
The patient is the ultimate decision-maker when it comes to healthcare decisions, and they expect to feel a sense of mutual respect from their doctor - their partner in healthcare. They want to feel like their health concerns are a concern for their physician as well and like they are coming to conclusions about treatment with their doctor.
Of course, every doctor-patient relationship is different. A patient's experience matters more than ever, not only because you want them to be well, but also because policies and awareness are driving healthcare like never before. So patients have rights, including the right to participate in their healthcare rather than being inactive patients.