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7 ways by which doctors can add value to their patients

female doctor adding value to her patient
A doctor making her patient relaxed

As a patient, have you or anyone that you know ever left a consulting room and felt either cheated, worse, or unsure of their health situation prior to the visit?

Would you rather be the one in a position to break the bad news to a patient or the one receiving the bad news?

The answers to the above questions are obvious.

As a physician myself, I have had to view things from the perspective of patients (howbeit, not as effectively as I would have loved to). Among the common themes that resonate with many patients, I have identified these 7 points that patients would require from their physicians:

  1. Provide high-quality, evidence-based care: By staying up-to-date with the latest research and guidelines, a doctor can ensure that patients receive the best possible care. Nowadays, there are so many journals and research outputs there for any well-meaning clinician to access, and hence no excuse can be given for not updating one's skills.

  2. Listen actively and communicate effectively: By actively listening to patients and communicating clearly, you can help them understand their conditions and treatment options, which can lead to better outcomes. It is often a common trap for some doctors to use jargons that do not mean much to patients. Break down your communication and make it understandable to your patients.

3. Be empathetic: By showing empathy and understanding, you can help patients feel heard and supported, which can improve their satisfaction with their care. Place yourself in the position of the patient. How would you like to be treated if you were the one on the receiving end?

4. Involve patients in their care: By involving patients in the decision-making process and giving them the tools they need to manage their health, you can help them take an active role in their care. I remember a case of a family that was quite wroth with a doctor for providing what that doctor thought was good care to a patient that had an advanced care plan to not receive that kind of care. Put aside your knowledge when it comes to dealing with the human frame. Get the patient involved in their treatment decisions.

5. Offer patient education: By providing patients with information and resources about their health and treatment options, you can help them make informed decisions about their care and improve their outcomes.

6. Continuously monitor and follow up: Do not close up a consultation without a clear plan such as discharging the patient and or following up with results. If discharge is the case, make it clear the reason why discharge is the result of a consultation and not because the patient is an irritant to you.

7. Be responsive to patient's needs and concerns: By being responsive to patient's needs and concerns and addressing them in a timely manner you can build trust and create a better patient experience.

I would hope to have a physician who can achieve all the above 7 points for me. I hope that patients are not expecting too much.

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