Improving Doctor-Patient Communication

In the March edition of The Journal, we talk about how to improve doctor-patient communication.

““Most people believe they are effective communicators,” said SVMIC Vice President of Medical Practice Services Stephen A. Dickens, JD, FACMPE. “The key is not that you understand what you’re talking about, but that the person you’re talking to understands what you’re trying to tell them.”

Whether you are in private practice or an employed physician, there are ways to improve communication and thereby your practice, according to Dickens. “Physicians are at a disadvantage when it comes to communicating with patients,” he explained. “You don’t speak the same language as your patients, you’re in a hurry to start because of the many burdens put upon you, and electronic medical records have done nothing to help.

“However, you need to understand that effective communication doesn’t take any longer than ineffective communication. In the long run, it saves time. To put it in context, think about a patient who leaves without understanding what they’re supposed to do. It results in phone tag, increased frustration for both parties,  or, at worst, the patient not getting the care he or she needs.”

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