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Patient Experience: How to Interact with a Patient

Patient experience has emerged as one of the most important aspects of medical training in today’s healthcare environment. Patients are not only demanding satisfaction in their experience, they are researching hospital and provider satisfaction ratings to make sure others have had a positive experience prior to seeking medical care themselves.

In today's age, your patients will judge you not by how well you do on your board exams, but on how they perceive you on providing compassionate and competent care to them. These videos examples can provide insight you can apply to every patient you see to allow you to develop consistent care for them.

Let's take a look at an example of the wrong way to approach the patient encounter:


At first glance you may think that this provider’s bedside manner is too bad to be true. We would never make such blatant and unprofessional communication mistakes, right? Hopefully not, but…

  • How often have you made the mistake of cutting off a patient when they are talking?
  • How often have you made the wrong assumption about the relationship of the person sitting next to the patient?
  • Do you ever cross your arms when talking to patients?

Crossing your arms is one of the worst forms of nonverbal communication messages we can send to our patients. It signifies that we are “closed off” from receiving open communication from them. They may interpret it as a sign that we are uncomfortable with what they are saying, which may prevent them from divulging their whole story.

doug-finefrockOften we cross our arms without realizing it, especially when we are confronted with difficult situations or difficult information. Try to observe other providers doing this and think about the message it sends to their patients.

Remember, patients form a first impression in the first few moments they see you. Unfortunately, this doctor made several mistakes that lead to a poor first impression.

  • First of all, he is not dressed professionally. Patients expect a degree of professionalism that begins with your choice of clothing.
  • This doctor starts off poorly. He does not introduce himself properly or shake hands. In fact, the patient has to clarify this by asking, “Are you my doctor?”
  • The doctor then makes an incorrect assumption about the relationship of the person sitting next to the patient and creates an uncomfortable experience for the family member.
  • He also interrupts the patient while speaking and ignores his concerns. In fact, he appears to be oblivious to the fact that the patient and his sister are upset about the time delay and does not feel the need to properly acknowledge or apologize for the wait.  Instead he crosses his arms to signify that he does not want to hear such a complaint.  In addition, he does not even give a time estimate of how long the X-ray will take despite the patient requesting it.
  • Lastly he bad-mouths another doctor in front of the patient, further demonstrating a lack of professional decorum.

Now watch this video example following the simple approaches taught by the PatientSET™ Program, outlining the correct way to approach a patient encounter and improve the patient experience.

This physician used the best practice framework of the PatientSET™ List that starts with developing a positive first impression and continues with showing the patient he cares.

The hallmarks of this Best Practice Patient Satisfaction are to:

  1. Retrain yourself with an easy systematic approach.
  2. Be 100% consistent with every patient.
  3. Remember, “Patients don’t care how much you know until they think you care.”
  4. Recognize that this will improve your job satisfaction too!

Using these best practices can have a significant impact on patient satisfaction scores.


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Categories: Patient Experience, Performance-Based Reimbursement, Nursing


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