Treat the Whole Patient

Patient Satisfaction

How do healthcare practitioners improve patient satisfaction? Patient satisfaction is a cognitive evaluation of an emotional reaction to their health-care experience. According to multiple studies, the most significant predictor of patient satisfaction is the quality of their conversations with their medical practitioners.

Patients care about:

  • Being listened to
  • Being treated courteously and respectfully
  • Being involved in decisions about their healthcare
  • Receiving clear explanations about their medical status and treatment

This is good news because they are all factors that you can control. Practitioners who take the time to communicate clearly, listen intently, understand each patient as an individual, and respond compassionately can improve their patients’ satisfaction and treatment outcomes. As Lauren Mansell stated in an interview with H&W, you have to “know what questions to ask patients for treatment. Our patients often feel alone, are frustrated with medical treatments, and feel like no one can address their symptoms.”

When patients are facing a difficult or new medical situation, they are in a threat state. This means that emotions get triggered, the limbic system gets activated, and the prefrontal cortex starts to deactivate. This results in patients who are not thinking clearly, listening well, or who appreciate a different mindset.

Herman & Wallace offers courses on treating the pelvic floor, and also the whole patient. Strengthen your clinical interactions with one of their courses:

One of the most important things that a practitioner can learn is to never assume that you know how your patient feels or identifies. No two people are the same. Faculty member, Brianna Durand shares that “Ultimately, the best method to providing compassionate and competent care is to minimize your assumptions.” Brianna shares this example in a recent interview, “if you find yourself assuming someone’s gender identity based on their name or appearance, I’d challenge you to practice using the gender-neutral they/them pronoun until you learn how they identify. If you are unsure, it is okay to privately ask them!” 

Faculty member, Mia Fine further stresses that “It is important that providers be aware of their own biases and be introduced to the various sexual health resources available to providers and patients.” Listen to your patient to understand what they are saying and feeling. Do not respond defensively. Remember that this can feel like a threatening situation for patients.

Happy patients are more likely to return to your practice in the future, recommend your practice to their friends, and pay their bills on time and in full. Patients want to have quality interactions with a healthcare provider who cares about them. As a practitioner, your satisfied patient is more likely to make follow-up appointments and maintain their prescribed treatment plan, which can lead to more positive outcomes. 

Oncology and the Pelvic Floor
July PRPC Practitioner Feature: Jennifer Eller

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