The business of explanation deserves its place in healthcare, at least as far as the patient is concerned. In their interactions with their physicians, be in at an office visit or in the emergency room, there’s a great deal more need for those providing the care to walk through the experience with those receiving the care.
Even if it’s a tedious experience for the physician the importance of drawing and engaging the patient can not be understated.
Really, from start to finish, every interaction with every patient should contain some sort of “educational” component at least as far as the care continuum is concerned. During their visits, all patients have questions in which they need/want answers to that ultimately may not be vitally important to the caregiver, but are to those receiving the care.
Even during the documentation process, physicians have a great opportunity to learn more about lives and health choices of their patients, especially if they can get them to speak about the office’s electronic health record system.
Perhaps I’m the outlier given my passion for technology and health IT, but I use my doctor’s use of technology during my office visits to engage my physician. Maybe it’s the reporter in me, but I always seek opportunities to use props or interactions to develop deeper relationships with those around me. Though my physician may think his EHR beyond my comprehension, I like to surprise him and dive right into and ask him about its capabilities.
- What can it do?
- Why did he choose it?
- What does he track the most?
- What’s he tracking about me?
- Why did he buy it?
Then, when the ice is broken, I dive into more broad-based questions:
- Why does he practice?
- What is he most passionate about from a care perspective?
- Why he chose to practice the field he did, and so on …
Essentially, in the eight minutes he’s taken to see me, I’ve learned enough about him to probably write a profile.
My point is, by taking a peripheral interest in someone even in an extremely short amount of time, there are benefits to be gained. I try to make it an art form and get at people’s stories without them even knowing. Try it sometime. Next time while at a party, observe just how many times someone actually asks you a question about anything. I’ve gone through hours of social engagements without having to answer a single question.
My point is, it’s easy to engage people of all levels even without them knowing it if you get them talking about the one thing they all want to talk about: themselves.
This tactic, if used by physicians, could get all of the information they need out of their patients even if their patients don’t want to be engaged.
I’m just saying.