What is patient-centered communication? What is the value of patient-centered communication? How can you put the principles of patient-centered communication to work in your practice? Read on for insight to these questions and more!
No doubt about it: Strong communication skills are essential to delivering quality care to patients. After all, patients are people with feelings, histories, and social contexts–all of which play a role. When practices use patient-centered communication to reach patients in an empathetic way, they make patients feel like partners in their care.
Read on to explore four ways to improve your patient-centered communication.
- Give Patients Time to Articulate their Experiences
The first principle of patient-centered communication is patience. Instead of focusing on the next tasks or the next appointment, be present with each patient when conversing with them. Remember that some patients may have difficulty explaining their symptoms due to language barriers, age, or infirmity.
2. Give Patients Proper Respect
Ask patients how they prefer to be addressed and make an effort to pronounce their names correctly. When possible, give them choices in their care. Aim for a consultative tone instead of being imposing or directive. Help all patients maintain their dignity.
3. Consider Your Body Language
Convey a message of collaboration and partnership by putting your body on the same level as patients when speaking with them. Always face them instead of looking in another direction to show that you’re attentive to their experience. Make eye contact with patients to let them know you’re placing your full attention on them.
4. Keep Conversations Simple
Instead of peppering your conversations with jargon and data, use words that patients will understand. Keep your conversations short and stay on topic. Remember: give patients ample time to ask questions. It’s important to make sure that patients feel comfortable asking informed questions about their health.
How Digital Tools Help Enhance Patient Communication
Every dental practice is a complex operation. It’s easy to get bogged down with repetitive work and miss opportunities to connect with patients. By implementing a patient communication solution, you save time and focus more on delivering quality care to your patients.
Automates Routine Tasks
Today’s software solutions can eliminate many labor-intensive tasks. Offer your patients options to book appointments online and send out automated appointment reminders instead of placing follow-up calls. You can also offer contactless check-in and let patients fill out necessary online forms in advance. By automating tasks like these, you can eliminate busy work and put more emphasis on patient experience.
Provides Patient Education Opportunities
When patients understand their condition and treatments, they are more likely to follow through with care plans. Even if you’ve had a thorough one-on-one discussion with patients, giving them access to educational materials through a patient portal is valuable. That way, patients can learn on their own time, in the comfort of their own homes. They’ll feel empowered, informed, and engaged as a full partner in their care.
Improve the Patient Experience
Many patients use technology in every aspect of their day-to-day lives, from working to shopping to banking. They expect their dental office to be up-to-date with technology. Offering a patient portal can give patients more access to information and help them take charge of their care. A robust patient portal should be a one-stop-shop for patients. Allow them to book or cancel appointments online, sign up for emails or reminders, and complete intake forms.
With quality communication, everybody wins. If you need help automating meaningful in-between visit communications, Demandforce may be for you. Call 833.429.1132 or visit henryscheinone.com/demandforce to see a product walk-through.