Going beyond the typical patient-clinician relationship can greatly impact your patient’s overall care satisfaction and paves the way for favorable case outcomes, survey results and–ultimately–improved star ratings.
Building patient rapport is a process that happens at every patient encounter within the care period. Although challenging, clinicians can take a few steps to improve patient rapport and establish a patient-clinician connection.
- Go beyond the patient chart- Basic in building a relationship is to know your patients beyond their health conditions. Make casual conversations and get to know a little bit of their background, family, hobbies and interests to eliminate the feeling of uneasiness and create a comfortable atmosphere.
- Keep them informed- Make the patients understand their condition and treatment options, so they can make educated decisions. Explain your role, and give them simple, useful information about the treatment plan, its goals and the steps they should undergo. Patients will appreciate you educating them– it makes them feel reassured and in control.
- Develop active listening- Try listening to your patients’ stories– each one of them has something to share. Take the time to respond to their comments and establish eye contact. They sure will have a lot of questions, but be receptive enough and entertain them. Moreover, clues on potential warning signs about your patient’s health can be revealed if you listen actively.
- Boost their morale- Sharing words of encouragement is an easy skill to develop, but you might be surprised how far it can go not just in boosting your patient’s self-esteem, but also in gaining their trust.
- Show compassion- You must make the patient feel your concern. Try to see things from a patient’s perspective and empathize with how they feel. You need not pretend to fully understand what they’re going through, but at least let them know you’re trying your best to help.
- Promote a collaborative care approach- Make patients feel they are actively involved in the treatment plan. Act as a health coach rather than an expert. Encourage them to express their insights about their treatment plan and make them feel they have a say on what’s good and not– this will create more initiative to patients to cooperate on treatment methods.
- Stay in touch- Building a rapport doesn’t just stop after the visit. Show patients that you genuinely care by doing after-visit calls to simply just check how they are doing or responding to their treatments. You can also get their feedback about your services, through surveys for further service improvements. This will make them feel you have their best interest at heart
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