I’ve had my share of medical appointments with family members over the past year. Between that and the 35 years I’ve spent working in healthcare, I’m pretty well versed in what makes a positive encounter between a patient and her physician. I’ve met healthcare’s poster boy for great encounters, and if I could clone him, I would, but since I can’t, I’ll settle for taking good notes and using my observations in my physician coaching content.
Engaging, empathetic, informative, and attentive are just some adjectives I’d use to describe my mom’s oncologist. His ability to quickly and warmly engage with both the patient and family members is remarkable, especially since oncologists have to deal with highly sensitive information. In one instance, before looking at the computer in the exam room, he recapped key information from having read her MRI results and asked pertinent questions related to recommendations made during the last visit. Seeing the doctor well versed on his patient’s condition and treatment plan from previous encounters reaffirms that he is invested in her story and did his homework.
More and more healthcare organizations are investing in physician shadowing and coaching to improve physicians’ interpersonal skills. Why? Because we know that when patients feel their doctors care about them they are more likely to comply with orders, which leads to positive medical outcomes. Sounds like the formula for success to me.