A Special Three-Part Series
Yes. Your patients have the right to choose their own healthcare provider. They approach their relationship with you as they would with anyone else. With their health on the line, patients find it necessary to select their providers critically. Based on extensive research, we found three main reasons why patients are leaving practices. With that, we’ve created a three-part series of effective solutions to prevent your practice from losing patients:
Part Two of Three: Are You Listening to Your Patients?
The second issue patients find most frustrating is not being heard. Patients want to feel like they are being listened to and not just being rushed through the visit. The key is listening. What’s important to the patient may not seem medically important, but by actively listening, you will make your patient feel like their concerns are being heard – and you might even learn the diagnosis.Listening is the key for “patient-centered care” and will lead to better care. Research shows that patients of physicians who are good listeners have better clinical outcomes. When physicians lack communication skills, their ability to gather information is affected, they fail to connect with their patients and they conduct or order unnecessary tests and treatments because problems are not accurately identified. Research shows that the biggest factor for a patient deciding whether to remain with a practice is the physician-patient relationship. The most important factor is trust and that begins with good communication.
Here are some ways to better listen to your patient:
- Let the patient finish talking. It is very important to create rapport from the very beginning. Let the patient talk without interrupting. By allowing the patient to finish talking, you are likely to learn valuable information that will benefit both parties and help your diagnosis.
- Show that you are paying attention. Make eye contact and offer simple responses such as “Go on” and “I see.” These active listening techniques will show you are paying attention and indicate your willingness to continue listening.
- Check with the patient. Once the patient has finished talking, recap and check for accuracy. This will show that you have been listening and place you and the patient on the same page. This will clear up any misunderstandings and will lead to a better clinical outcome.
- Don’t just complete the visit. Don’t just end the visit after telling your patient the diagnosis. Deliver the diagnostic information and provide education. Get the patient’s opinion and involve them in the decision-making process.