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Enhance patient-physician bonds in the age of smart hospitals

Article-Enhance patient-physician bonds in the age of smart hospitals

patient physician
A guide to safeguard the patient experience through conscious human interaction.

Smart hospitals equipped with cutting-edge technology and artificial intelligence are revolutionising the industry with streamlined processes and reduced costs. While digitalised healthcare means greater control and enhanced efficiency for patients, it threatens relationships. Here are some strategies to safeguard the patient experience: 

Develop good bedside manner 

Patients place high value on a physician’s bedside manner, associating it with the quality of care they are about to receive. Effective bedside manners depend on strong communication skills, compassion, and patience. The ability to show empathy builds trust which is an important aspect of patient-doctor interactions. 

Prioritise face-to-face interactions  

In smart hospitals, maintaining regular in-person follow-ups can be challenging. Doctors should maintain a human touch and engage with patients in person, whenever possible. Face-to-face engagement from either the doctor or an assistant plays a pivotal role in ensuring patients feel heard and valued. A procedure for follow-up emails could also be implemented, ensuring messages are personalised and scheduled to be sent a few days after each consultation. These strategies help to optimise time management while maintaining a human touch to ensure patients do not feel isolated. 

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Actively communicate 

Effective doctor-patient interactions require more than words. In the context of critical care, patients often find comfort in physicians who exhibit empathy and attentiveness. Demonstrating genuine care through your voice tone and body language is vital. Actively listening to the spoken words and the underlying emotions is essential. Encourage open-ended discussions to allow patients to express their feelings, offering reassurance as needed. Offer clear and comprehensive details about the patient's condition, treatment plan, prognosis, expectations, and their role in the process.

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Physical touch 

A clinical study involving intensive care patients demonstrated that five days of tactile contact reduced emotional stress indicators. Research on the importance of touch in clinical consultations also highlighted that a doctor's touch1, such as a gentle pat on the back, provided comfort to most patients. Adopting a soothing tone and non-defensive body language in communications can also enhance the overall positive patient experience. 

Manage patient beliefs 

Socio-cultural factors shape individuals' healthcare beliefs and some patients may hold different opinions that can impact treatment decisions. To enhance patient adherence to therapeutic plans, it is important to identify these beliefs and encourage questions. Explain treatment options, including benefits and any drawbacks in detail. Strive to understand the patient's perspective on their condition and their treatment options.  

Be courteous 

In situations where patients hold differing views or disregard professional recommendations, maintaining composure is vital. Healthcare professionals should strive to understand the underlying emotions and concerns of these patients or family members. Through empathetic listening and open communication, healthcare providers can carefully navigate challenging scenarios. By addressing the core issues with respect, it is possible to resolve any conflicts and create a more constructive and trusting patient-provider relationship. This is important for delivering effective care and achieving a positive patient journey. 

Stay focused 

Maintaining focus during patient interactions is essential for establishing a meaningful connection. Frequent eye contact throughout your conversations is a simple yet powerful way to convey your undivided attention and empathy. This also helps to create a sense of trust. It is also important to minimise any distractions, even those related to medical technology, which can divert your attention away from the patient. By staying fully engaged and attentive, healthcare practitioners can create a conducive environment where patients feel respected, heard, and supported. Together, this enhances the overall quality of care and patient satisfaction. 


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