II. Management: Patient-Centered Communication

  1. Understand patient's agenda
    1. Introduce patient, provider, family and others in the room
    2. Welcome new patients
    3. Start with non-medical break-the-ice topics (if time)
    4. Ask open ended question (e.g. "How can I help you today")
    5. Allow patient to speak uninterrupted initially
    6. Ask, is there something else?
    7. Actively listen while the patient is speaking without distracting activities
  2. Understand patient's perspective, psychosocial context
    1. Avoid judging patient's emotions as appropriate or inappropriate
    2. Avoid offering premature reassurance or normalizing patient's concerns (e.g. "common reaction")
    3. Understand patient's expectations from encounter (e.g. work note, reassurance)
    4. Express empathy and concern
    5. See Breaking Bad News
    6. See Discussing Terminal Illness (Discussing Death, End-Of-Life Care)
  3. Shared treatment goals
    1. Discuss treatment options (including no treatment or watchful waiting)
    2. Avoid overwhelming the patient with too much information
  4. References
    1. Hashim (2017) Am Fam Physician 95(1): 29-34 [PubMed]

III. Management: Maintain good communication with patients and their families

  1. Establish a relationship with patient and families
  2. Listen well
    1. Avoid missing important details due to interruption
    2. Direct the patient to the current history and avoid interrupting for at least the first minute
    3. Gain credibility through reciprocal communication
    4. Listening to a patient's story allows them to unload details and free-up memory to absorb what medical providers say
  3. Apologize for medical errors (with administrative Consultation)
    1. Medical providers should consult with their employers and Risk Management teams prior to disclosure
    2. Some hospitals have full disclosure policies
    3. A majority of states have apology laws
      1. Protect providers and organizations to some extent when they disclose medical errors
  4. Address patient or family dissatisfaction, anger or other negative emotions associated with the visit
    1. See Conflict Resolution (for effective methods including better listening)
    2. See Emergency Department Patient Satisfaction

IV. Management: Benevolence correlates with best and most satisfied FP's

  1. Preserve and Enhance people's welfare
  2. Patient Descriptions of "Good" physicians
    1. Helpful
    2. Honest
    3. Forgiving
    4. Loyal
    5. Responsible

V. References

  1. Henry (2013) Avoid Being Sued, EM Bootcamp, CEME

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