The Hippocratic Oath commands, “First, do no harm.” Establishing patient trust is just the first step to following through on this oath. Without patient trust, efectively helping a patient will become a fruitless endeavor. To establish your patients’ trust, keep the following recommendations in mind.
7 Ways to Establish Patient Trust
1. Establishing patient trust begins at hello
It sounds simple enough, but in a busy practice, and introductions can get overlooked. Be sure to stop and introduce yourself to your patients, and to anyone accompanying them. Another easy way to introduce yourself is via your website about page and social media platforms.
2. Really, truly listen
Just as you appreciate patients who listen and follow your advice, your patients will appreciate you actively listening to them. This means not just hearing patients’ words, but also trying to understand what they mean and responding accordingly.
Nonverbal cues are as important as words. Be sure to ask clarifying questions to show patients that you have heard them. Be consistent with these actions, and your patients will feel validated and will be more receptive to your instruction.
3. Communication is key
What might have become routine for you will be new for your patients, and possibly confusing or even upsetting. Pay attention to the possibility of information overload and consider supplying your patients with supplemenatl material for them to take home. Communicating well and often can help prevent your patients from becoming frustrated, angry, or upset. Be sure to repeat important information, even if it makes you feel awkward. Patients have more on their minds than just why they came to your office, and most will appreciate your efforts.
4. Keep jargon to a minimum
While using correct medical terminology comes easily to you, most patients will struggle to understand. Instead, opt for familiar words and concepts when talking with your patients and online.
5. Know more than just their chart
One of the best ways to create patient rapport is by getting to know your patients personally. You can do this by asking open-ended questions that promote conversation. For example, ask your patient what they would like to do when they are feeling better. These little actions show your patient that you care.
6. Reflect your patient’s behavior back to them
Adopting gestures, speech patterns, postures, tones, etc., that are similar to your patients will make you seem more like them. This is called mirroring, and clinicians who actively practice it gain deeper levels of trust and comfort with patients than those who don’t. Try to understand your patient’s communication style and mirror it back to them. Are they a person of few words, or someone who digresses? Are they a speed talker, or do they speak slowly? Matching your communication style to theirs will help patients understand you better.
7. Teach your patients well
Empowering your patients with information and resources they can use to manage their own health is invaluable for establishing patient trust. Watch out for opportunities to educate your patients about choices they can make for improved health and any signs/symptoms they should watch for related to their medical condition.
Establishing Patient Trust with Better Quality Information
Establishing patient trust requires considerable thought, time, and effort. But done consistently, it will benefit both you and your patients, with better outcomes for them and greater job satisfaction for you. If you are looking for assistance in creating better quality information for your patients in person and/or online, Watch Media Group can assist in creating high quality, medically accurate brochures, one-pagers, newsletters, social media posts, articles, and blog.