Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Doctor Patient Relationships - Milk of Human Kindness

Sometimes we medical bloggers focus too much on technical issues of doctor relationships with patients when little acts of human kindness would do.

I was reminded of this when I received Susan Keane Baker’s newsletter “Exceptional Patient Care.”You may sign up to receive a free copy by visiting www.susanbaker.com.

Susan gives talks across the country on the art of finding and keeping loyal patients, based partly on her two books Managing Patient Expectations and “I’m Sorry to Hear That….:”

In her newsletter, she tells how to express this kindness in two minutes or less.

If you have two minutes

• Encourage the patient to take the lead in your conversation.
• Stop in to say “hi” to a patient you had previous contact with.
• Evaluate patient’s coping system (humor, sotthing, withdrawal) and mirror it in your interactions.

If you have one minute

• Offer a snack.
• Share something that caught your attention.
• Explain what will happen next.

If you have 30 seconds

• Ask,”Do you have a favorite television show?”
• Share a joke..
Q: What did the sick baby banana say to its mother.
A: I don’t peel good.
• “Thank you for choosing us for your care.”

If you have 10 seconds

• Ask if patients has all of his/her belongings.
• Introduce yourself with name and title.
• Offer a business card.

Susan asks you to follow her on Twitter (www.twitter.com/hcahpsbooster) and quotes this Leo Tolstoy piece.

Kindness flows, anger bottlenecks.
A warm smile is the universal language of kindness.
Even if your kindness is not acknowledged, it is noticed and over time can soften the hardest hearts.
Kindness is in our power even when fondness is not.
The kinder and more thoughtful a person is, the more kindness they can find in other people

P.S. I welcome your comments – good, bad, or neutral.

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