A dynamic doctor-patient relationship is one of the key components to a good standard of care. What is more, it can have a positive impact on the patient’s health. Trust and openness facilitate a better sharing of information on both sides. While the patient feels more comfortable sharing medical information, the physician also strives to make the information accessible to everyone. Understanding the inflection is half the battle, and having a better knowledge of what is going on with your own body decreases stress.
What is more, patients are encouraged to be active participants in the healing process. For example, by being involved in the decision-making they are more likely to follow through with the treatment plan. All of these elements lead to better chances of recovery.
The foundation of a good doctor-patient relationship
A positive doctor-patient relationship is one of the cornerstones of quality care. This tie is defined as a type of consensual relationship. The patient requires assistance from the physician, and the physician accepts the case.
The relationship between physician and patient offers the context in which medical data is collected and analysed, diagnoses are made, a course of treatment is set, and support is offered. Furthermore, a dynamic doctor-patient relationship can also build fidelity towards a specific facility. Patients are more likely to return to the physician with whom they share a connection.
In this regard, stakes are even higher in the field of family medicine. Physicians who practice usually nurture a long-standing relationship with their patients and build an in-depth knowledge of their personal and family medical history. This opportunity to grow together is one of the main reasons that many experts apply for a family practice physician job.
In a study conducted at Massachusetts General Hospital, empathy was identified as the key factor of patient satisfaction. Researchers have handed out a series of surveys and tests to 112 patients who went through a surgical procedure on their hands. Results show that a 65% correlation between physician empathy and patient satisfaction.
Empathy can function as a bridge between care provider and patient, connecting the two. Also, patients are more likely to trust the person by whom they feel understood. This also allows for a higher involvement rate of patients, which means that they are more likely to take the necessary steps to heal.
Good communication helps solidify a doctor-patient relationship and the treatment. Patients must trust medical providers enough to share personal information with them. Also, a physician has to share data relating to the patient’s condition in an accessible manner. Not knowing what is wrong with your health is a terrifying prospect and can cause a lot of angst. There was a clear shift in the system, and practitioners are leaning more toward patient education.
Any discussion between physician and patient should run in a respectful and friendly tone. Through good communication, a physician can express empathy. There are several tips a physician can implement to improve their communication skills:
- Practise active listening: give feedback that you hear and understand the other person. Give short verbal cues of acknowledgment, or nod your head in approval.
- Offer clear information and make it accessible to the patient.
- Ask a lot of questions.
- Offer encouragement and positive feedback about your experience together.
Patients should not be passive actors in their health management. Instead, they should be regarded as active participants who take decisions and enact the outlined plan. However, the medical specialist also has an important role in shaping the involvement of the patient.
In this regard, shared decision-making has led to very positive results. The patient and the doctor are involved in an informed discussion regarding the due course of treatment. Such a talk is founded on mutual respect and trust. The practitioner must notify the patient of available options and any risks involved and then choose the optimum way to proceed together.
Health benefits of a dynamic doctor-patient relationship
A study on the impact of doctor-patient relationships has revealed a complex tableau of outcome variables. Here are some of their findings
- Following the treatment
- Blood pressure
- Frequency of visits
A dynamic patient-doctor relationship has a direct positive effect on the patient’s health in several ways. Patients have a better understanding of their condition, which makes illness and injury more manageable. What is more, the aversion some have toward healthcare facilities can diminish if the system is more humanised. That is why it is essential for patients to feel understood by doctors.
Perhaps the main benefit is that it transforms the patients into active participants. By being more involved in the process, they are also more likely to take action and follow the plan they have outlined together with their physician.
Nurture and heal
A dynamic doctor-patient relationship is something that evolves over time. Connections are made through repeated interactions. Also, it is important to remember that this is a two-way relationship, and the patients should also be involved in nurturing a positive experience.
Elena Deeley did her degree in psychology at the University of Edinburgh. She has an ongoing interest in mental health and well-being.