Do you know what people look for first and foremost when choosing a doctor? You might be surprised…
While we primarily focus on the healthcare industry from the view of healthcare providers, sometimes it serves us well to step back and take a look at things from the patients point of view. Failing to take their viewpoint of an industry that exists to serve the patient is as important and valid as thinking industry first. It is their healthcare system, and as such, at least for a little while, let’s look at things from their perspective.
Having established the value of seeing the healthcare industry from the eyes of the patient, we are going to look at the four traits patients want to see in their doctor.
Thanks to information about almost everything and everyone being available online with a few keystrokes, you can found thousands of articles and reviews written about doctors by patients. If you took the time to read a significant portion of them, you would notice that are common words and phrases patients use to describe what they like about their doctor. These include the terms “trustworthy”, “patient”, and “professional”. You will also often see something about how “Dr. X is always available” or “takes time to listen to me”, to describe what they like in their physician. Whatever the case may be, it seems that each specific trait falls under one of four main characteristics that all patients look for from their doctor:
For patients, finding a doctor that they feel respects them is vital. Just as is true in any other situation, people want to feel like their time and opinions are being respected and valued. They don’t want someone who makes them feel like they are being ushered through their care as if they were on a conveyor belt. If there is no respect between a patient and doctor, there really is no future in the pairing.
You have to be able to relate to your patients on their level. You will see dozens of people each day and it is a given that it is not always easy to relate to each patient individually. Notwithstanding, you still need to find a way to connect with your patients that allows them to feel like they are being treated properly. This is especially true in regard to patients that are dealing with serious health issues. Showing those patients some empathy can go a long way. Be kind and humane. Treat people in the way you would want to be treated if you were in their place.
Good communication is the cornerstone of relating to your patients and delivering the best care to them you possibly can. It is imperative that you can make yourself clear to your patients so that you can be sure that you are both on the same page when discussing conditions, care methods, medications or anything else that may come into play during the course of an appointment. It’s not only making yourself clear that matters, communication is a two-way street so you also have to be able to actively listens, take in their opinions and concerns, and let them know their concerns are being heard.
Patients don’t always want someone that s just going to bark directions at them without regard for hearing what they have to say. Most patients want to feel that you are making decisions with them. Sometimes it isn’t possible, but it is important to at least make an effort. You can’t control what your patients do or say, but you can control your end of the collaboration. Keep in mind that it is fine and well to enter your relationship your patients as a partnership, if that is not working, you are the professional and your opinion on care counts the most. Be firm, be confident, but try not to be too overly assertive. When possible, make decisions together.
What patients are mostly looking for in their relationship with their doctor is being healthier. Ultimately, that is what everyone is working toward! In order for that to come to fruition, you have to build and maintain a well-connected relationship with your patients built on solid communication.