Advertising, visibility, customer service, and the like will all play a certain role in how well doctors can engage and retain their patients. But thinking of it as a business only goes so far. The most important thing, at the core of it, is the relationship between the two parties. Any treatment, any plan is much more effective with cooperation and understand. But fostering that means gathering four essential ingredients. Whether you’re the patient or the doctor, we will look at how to do that.
Starting with the most vital component. A doctor needs to be able to ensure they have the trust of their patients. All doctors will be well used to patients who aren’t being entirely truthful about their lifestyle and circumstances. But it’s important for patients to understand how important the truth is. Otherwise, you might not even be able to talk about certain embarrassing conditions that could be vital. It is not uncommon or in any way inadvisable that doctors should get training to help them build a better personal rapport. For instance, managing what they say and how you say it, as well as what they are communicating in body language. As a patient, it’s worth understanding that a seemingly hostile or closed-off method of communicating isn’t intentional.
The two parties need to be able to talk to one another thoroughly so that they are easier understood. In a lot of cases, this might simply mean clearing up medical jargon that you, as a patient, if you don’t understand something, you shouldn’t be afraid to ask for some clarification. Your doctors and nurses will understand you don’t have the years of experience and training that they do.
This is an essential element for both the doctor and the patient. For the doctor, there’s a lot more they can do to remove barriers to treatment, by offering more telecare and using tools like a digital patient experience. As for the patient, you need to be careful about choosing which healthcare practitioners you use. Consider how you get treatment, particularly if they only offer treatment and consultation at a physical location. A doctor you can’t access won’t be much use to you.
As important as trust is cooperation in the relationship. Patient and doctor both need to make sure they’re heading in the right direction. As a doctor, this means taking the time to ensure that the patient understands and that they know they have some say in their treatment, without hiding the consequences of their choices from them. As a patient, it means ensuring you find a doctor who is willing to do that and keeping your promises about being more active in any treatment prescribed. If you have an adversarial relationship with your doctor, it’s either time to take a look at your attitude towards your healthcare, or time to find a new doctor.
Doctors need to be able to reach across barriers, to communicate effectively, and in a way that engages patients. Most importantly, they need patients to believe in them. Without those components, no successful relationship can flourish.