Check out these important communication tips to avoid misunderstandings with your patients. Many of our clients have mentioned problems due to misunderstandings with patients. You explain. You put it in writing. You reiterate. And, still you have problems.
PUMC is an Internet marketing agency so we strive to have excellent communication. However, we recognize that it takes time to establish a relationship. It takes time to read all the communication signals. As Dr. Normand Miller points out, our relationship with him has spanned a decade. When it comes to patients, your relationship may not span years. So, communication is vital from the onset. Here are some communication tips to help you get your point across.
Communication Tips for Doctors
- Avoid slang and complicated words. Stick with everyday words that patients understand.
- Speak slowly. Some people have difficulty grasping information when it is shared quickly. Speak slowly. Establish a conversation with your patient instead of rattling off a list of instructions.
- Encourage questions. While you have experience with questions that your patients frequently ask, you cannot anticipate all questions. Ask throughout your discussion instead of waiting until the end when time is limited for both of you.
- Provide a handout as a recap. Consider adding pictures to your handouts to make it easier to understand and to capture attention. Written directions help patients recall what you said earlier.
- Consider language barriers. If your patient’s first language isn’t English, you may need someone who speaks his/her first language. Some areas have an extensive mix of spoken languages. So, you may wish to have handouts written in the primary language(s) of your patients. Many terms and instructions can be lost in translation.
- Watch your body language and tone. It is easy to get in a hurry, and it shows in your body language. Take your time in talking with a patient, even if it means that you will run late to the next appointment. Every patient is worth the time.
How is your communication with your staff and patients? How is your staff’s communication? Sometimes, your online reviews will reflect communication problems. Other times, a patient may mention it in your office. If you are tsilll having problems when using these communication tips, you may need an outside view. Call PUMC for an assessment of your communication gaps.