In private practice, you need to walk across the bridge between a medical world to the world where your patients spend their time. You need to be a human being—at least part of the time—to win the respect and affection of your patients.
There is a revolution in how doctors relate to their patients. Be sure you understand how to deal with the following relatively new developments in this ageless relationship between patient and doctor:
- Patients like to be thought of as clients and you as their consultant, helping them find their way to better health.
- A patient (or client) of yours may know as much about their illness as you do.
- Patients are not afraid of computer-assisted diagnosis and care.
- Patients expect more from you than prescriptions and orders.
Some examples of how these new developments can be turned into practice-building traits in your private practice…
- Offer a handshake and a smile. You’re on equal footing with your patient. Show it.
- When a patient offers information you doubt, say “That’s interesting!” and ask for the source so you can study it yourself.
- Show your concern for each patient by asking (and caring about) how they are doing. Remember each name. Look at your client with a smile in your eyes.
- Give the patient work to do. Keep a log for a couple of weeks. Switch to another type of diet. Walk a certain number of miles or paces. Carry out exercises you feel would help.
- Ask your patients questions about how they feel they are doing. At the end of your time together, ask if there are any questions and then wait for a response.
- Every patient should leave with a diagnosis. Let them know what you don’t know, what you expect, and, most of all, what you do know about the patient’s condition.