The National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago conducted a recent survey of 2,069 adults that found only 64 percent of the study population completely trusted or somewhat trusted the healthcare system. Luckily, the same study shows that people trust direct care (doctors and nurses) more than indirect care (hospitals and insurance companies).
We know that doctors and nurses work tirelessly to care for the American people. Still, some patients need a little extra help building relationships with their healthcare professionals. Here are some simple behaviors that can increase trust between you and your patients.
Maintain Eye Contact
People feel uncomfortable when people don’t look them in the eye. Even shy doctors and nurses should make an effort to practice maintaining eye contact with patients (while still allowing yourself to blink).
Eye contact may be difficult when you notice a work-related matter out of the corner of your eye, or when you’re reading through your patient’s charts. However, your patient will feel that you care about and are focused on them and their health, giving them confidence in their care.
Explain Your Advice
Some patients simply don’t understand why their doctor suggests a particular course of action, such as a test or medication. Explain in detail why you recommend the medical care you do, especially when it comes to invasive procedures or drugs with unpleasant side effects.
It can also be helpful to have brochures that patients can take home with them as a reference as well as resources on your website for the most common questions you receive.
Practice Active Listening
Many patients feel unheard or misunderstood, especially when doctors tell them something against their pre-established thoughts on a health topic. Do what you can to explain to your patient that you do hear their concerns.
For example, if a patient doesn’t have a lot of money, they may worry about the cost of specific procedures. Reiterate their concern and explain how you plan to keep costs down for them while also keeping them healthy.
Create Time for Patients
Healthcare professionals must manage time effectively to treat as many people as possible. However, one of the most common complaints coming from patients involves limited time with their doctor. Dedicate a certain amount of time to each patient’s questions, giving them your full attention during that time. If certain patients want more time than is fair to the other patients, have someone on staff answer their questions in detail until they are satisfied.
Document Patient Interactions
A medical transcription company, like Mercedes Transcription Inc., can simplify complicated medical concepts in simple manners that abide by all HIPAA regulations. These transcripts come in handy when a patient gets confused or doesn’t remember exactly what you told them. It also helps ensure that billing is accurate and your patients aren’t charged for things they shouldn’t be.
We owe doctors and nurses respect, especially in the wake of the pandemic. However, many patients still worry about the care they receive. Try these simple methods to increase trust between you and your patients.