Posted on August 4, 2017

For decades, doctors have been known for having the world’s worst penmanship. But it turns out doctors may have a hard time communicating in general.

Sadly, good communication is not something that’s taught in medical school, and it isn’t long out in ‘the real world’ before physicians realize the impact poor communication can have on their patients’ well-being and their own bottom line.

Good communication will help outcomes that result in patient satisfaction. With that in mind, here are 3 communication mistakes you might be making and how you can fix them.

  1. Get on Their Level

Doctors are busy. They have to see a lot of patients in a small amount of time. Because of this, many doctors never sit down and speak with the human being in the exam room. They stand in the doorway, towering over the person, and buzz in and out of the room.

Studies have shown that patients perceive you’ve spent more time with them (even when you haven’t) if you sit for the appointment rather than stand. Patients are, in general, happier and more satisfied with when you sit and make eye contact.

  1. Listen More

When you have three other patients waiting, it’s not always easy to let the one in front of you go on and on about what’s wrong. Often doctors want to help focus their patients to get to the bottom of the problem or issue. That’s natural.

But talking and not letting your patients speak much at all is a bad habit to get into. You’ve got to let them speak a little bit before interrupting them or focusing their dialogue with you. The next time you see a patient, try and let them speak a bit more while you listen a bit more.

  1. Include the Family

It is often more important to speak with family members than the actual patient. Family members typically act as an advocate for their loved ones, especially when the patient is elderly or simply overwhelmed and confused. Don’t move on to the next patient until you’ve given your patient and their family a chance to ask questions.

Not everyone is born with an innate ability to communicate well with others. But that’s okay because communication skills can be learned and improved upon. Making more of an effort on the communication front each day will lead to true interpersonal connections, and that will be great for both you and your patients.

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