I recently participated in a Twitter Chat about physician-patient communications. A common refrain from some of the providers in the group was that “there isn’t enough time” during the typical office visit for physicians to worry about communicating effectively. What’s up with that?
The goal of patient-centered communications is to engage the patient in their own health care. While most physicians endorse the concept of patient centered communications, many seem reluctant to employ such techniques in their own practice. Why? I suspect that many fear that too much patient involvement will increase the length of the visit.
Take the patient’s opening statement aka “patient agenda” in patient centered lingo. This is where the doctor asks the patient why they are there. The resulting patient narrative is an opportunity for the physician to obtain valuable information to help assess the patient. Patient centered advocates recommend that physicians use open-ended questions like “what brings you in today” to solicit the patient’s concerns and agenda. Active listening by the physician and paying attention to the patient’s emotional cues are also hallmarks of patient centered communications.
The reality is that regardless of how they are asked, patients are often not able to complete their opening statement. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Mind The Gap*