How to effectively build patient relationships?


Over the years patients have become more demanding of their doctors. Unlike a few years ago, a doctor’s competence is not measured on the basis of qualification alone, but on his ability to offer value-based services. Indeed, the medical industry is seeing a shift in priorities and is emphasizing patient-centered care. For physicians, this means realizing that their patients’ wants have expanded.

Presence and mindfulness

An unfortunate result of our modern fast-paced lives is our increasing inability to hold meaningful conversations and navigate through emotional challenges. The Institute for Healthcare Excellence reports that 50% of preventable errors are caused by a breakdown in communication. This could be anything, from a wrong-site procedure to a patient who leaves because he feels his doctor isn’t showing enough concern, despite being extremely qualified. Instances like these erode trust and don’t bode well for the health care system, in general.

Recognize and respond to emotion

Being able to recognize and respond to emotion is probably one of the most difficult communication skills to master. It is also one of the most useful, considering that medical institutions are ripe with emotions running high in every direction. Whether it’s a frustrated patient or a disgruntled colleague, being able to identify friction and address it correctly is critical to preserve a relationship.

Efficiently organize patient data

Although this may sound prosaic, being able to efficiently manage patient data can greatly impact a patient’s experience at your office. Regularly updating patients’ medical files expedites the billing process, eliminates potential errors, and makes it easier for a patient to check in. It is important to foresee hiccups such as a patient arriving for an appointment without his insurance information.  Anything that the doctor’s office can do to maintain accurate information about each patient is greatly beneficial to the entire process. And with the goal being to ensure patient comfort and ease, being organized is crucial in achieving this.

Make friends

While qualifications and technical skills do impress a patient enough to select a doctor, what makes a patient stay is the knowledge that their physician is genuinely concerned and willing to make time for their queries. People don’t want an unfeeling robot in charge of their healthcare. The knowledge that their doctor is like them in many ways, makes it easier for patients to share personal concerns. Prioritizing a patient’s humanity conveys the message that your patients are important and worthy of your attention. Further, your patients will be less willing to pursue legal actions if things go awry.

Providing concentrated attention for older patients

The aging population in the United States is steadily increasing. Along with it is the growing number of elderly patients who require medical care. When dealing with senior patients it is necessary to pay extra attention and care. Avoid technical jargon that might intimidate them from clarifying their doubts. Many times a patient’s decision to skip a dose or continue with regular medication is significantly influenced by the relationship they share with their doctor.

Further, patients who share a good relationship with their physician are more likely to recommend to their family and friends. Building strong ties with your patients is one of the most important things you can do to increase your success as a medical practitioner.

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