Patient-Centered Care: Strategies for Building Strong Doctor-Patient Relationships (2024)

Shared decision-making and customized care plans are central to patient-centered care. Decisions involve the patient, any family members that they would like to be involved,andthe physician. As a result, patients can beknown in the context of their unique worlds. They are listened to, informed about their health and options, and respected, and they take part in their care because the physician honors their wishes to the best of his ability.

Establishing a medical practice with patient-centered care requires more than transforming the waiting room to be more welcoming and making sure the clinic receives positive reviews. At its core, patient-centered care is concerned with the individual needs and wishes of the patient. To do that, a strong, understanding relationship must be established between doctor and patient.

A Strong Relationship

Building a strong relationship and good rapport with your patients occurs over time. Like other relationships, some achieve connection and understanding with little effort, while others require a little more work. Strong relationships are founded on trust, and trust is usually earned by observing interactions over time or deep knowledge of another person. This can be difficult when patient-physician interactions are limited to 15 minutes or less. But, even with 15 minutes, a physician can prioritize the relationship (achieving better health outcomes as a result).

Tips for Building Lasting Patient Relationships

Choosing to pursue patient-centered care may require changing the normal flow of your practice or simply the way you interact during the time you have. Here are somesuggestions to startbuilding rapport and a strong relationship with your patients:

  • Maintain eye contactduring conversations and when the patient is answering questions
  • Show empathythrough empathic statements and body language while the patient is telling their story.
  • Use open communicationby keeping your patients updated as new orders or changes in their health occur. Ask them to share their feelings about what is going on and explore those feelings if the patient wants to talk about them.
  • Personalize your meeting. Try to ask them at least one question about themselves. It could be about their friends, hobbies, family, job, or anything else that is important to them.
  • Use active listeningby repeating back what you understood the patient was trying to communicate. Then, ask if what you understood was correct.
  • Use mirroring body language. Matching the patient's body language, posture, demeanor, or voice volume can help them feel that they are understood. This technique can help a doctor maintain awareness of what a patient is feeling when difficult conversations occur.
  • Let your "yes" be "yes" and your "no" be "no."The foundation of a relationship is trust, and keeping your word over time is a quintessential aspect of building trust. Try not to lead the patient to believe they will achieve unlikely outcomes, and do not promise more than you are reasonably able to provide.

If it is difficult to apply these tactics in spontaneous interactions, certain tools can also help providers get to know their patients through prewrittenhealth screens. In addition to asking the traditional, necessary questions about patients' health history, these screens can include questions that prioritize what is important to the patient.

For example, questions such as "What matters most to you today?" or "What kind of help are you hoping we can connect you to?" Starting small, even in formal ways, can help everyone in your practice learn to prioritize patient-centered care.

The Fruit of Patient-Centered Care

Taking the time to build relationships with your patients can have far-reaching benefits for both the patient, staff members, and resource allocation. Building any meaningful relationship takes work, but it doesn't have to be out of reach.

At ChenMed, our teams of physicians and other staff members implement patient-centered care. We actively pursue relationship building, and many of our doctors have established strong relationships with their patients. It is a culture of trust that allows us to team up with our patients and achieve the best possible health outcomes for each person.

Join our team and seehow ChenMedders heal.

Patient-Centered Care: Strategies for Building Strong Doctor-Patient Relationships (1)

ChenMed is a full-risk primary care market leader with an innovative philosophy, a unique physician-led culture and end-to-end customized technology that is providing coordinated, world-class primary care to the most vulnerable population - moderate- to low-income seniors with complex chronic diseases.

Patient-Centered Care: Strategies for Building Strong Doctor-Patient Relationships (2024)
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