How to Build Trust with Patients

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When patients trust their doctors, they are more likely to follow treatment instructions, have less anxiety regarding their checkups, and assume they are receiving a higher level of care. Patients who trust their providers more are also more likely to be more upfront about their medical issues and concerns, which also results in more accurate treatment. There are a few things providers can do to get their patients to trust them, including displaying confidence and competence, being honest and direct, showing respect, and keeping information confidential. 

Show Your Competent 

Doctors receive years of training to become certified. However, healthcare is a quickly evolving industry. To stay up to date on the latest treatment methods and science in your field, it is best to continue training by committing to professional development courses each year. 

You can also display competency and confidence through how you speak to patients. Competent communication also means reading non-verbal cues. You have to actively listen to your patients, do not interrupt them while they are speaking, and remain unbiased. Judging a patient can result in dismissing or minimizing their symptoms. To ensure you are understanding their concerns, you should paraphrase what they say back to them to show you’re hearing them. The patient can correct the miscommunication if there is something you misunderstand. 

There will be times when you or your staff make a mistake. When this happens, it is best to admit the error and then correct it as soon as it is recognized. Always take accountability. You should never cover up the error with vague information, and instead, clearly address the blunder. 

Be Honest

A doctor must do no harm. In some circumstances, you may have to deliver bad news or confront your patients’ unhealthy behaviors. If you don’t face problems head-on, this can result in more problems for your patients later on in life. Providers must always be honest, and in scenarios when they have to be firm, they should always remain empathetic. 

Maintain Confidentiality 

It is illegal for providers to share patient information, and doing so can greatly damage trust. If there are ever scenarios when a doctor is asked to provide medical information to someone other than the patient, they can not do so without consent first. Staff should be trained on Day One on the seriousness of patient confidentiality. Never talk about a patient to anyone else on staff. This displays leadership and appropriate behavior. If you need to have a personal talk with a patient when other people are around, offer to bring them into a private room. And make sure that all technical systems that manage medical documents and communications are working properly and are up-to-date. 

Show Compassion

When you are in the exam room with a patient, give them your full attention. Do not be in a rush. one of the most effective ways to build trust is to show patients that you care. This is done by giving them the respect they deserve. Be aware of your personal prejudices and never let your biases interfere with your treatment. It is also best to hold a strong professional boundary. 

Dress Professionally 

While the rest of the world continues to dress more casual, the same can not be said in the medical field. The healthcare industry is one that requires a level of cleanliness and professionalism that careers in hospitality or blue-collar jobs do not. It is always important for physicians to wear professional clothing. The administrative staff should wear business attire, while techs and nurses should dress in fresh scrubs. Looking professional can ease your parents’ worry, while informal dress can make them concerned. 

Social Media 

One modern way to build trust with patients is through social media accounts. You can create content for your practice’s website that shows helpful information and new science in your field. This will establish your practice as a reliable source for relevant information. You can also make videos, produce podcasts, or make other helpful content to share with your patients. These efforts will maintain your authority by showing that you are continually involved in learning and sharing that knowledge with your patients. Social media can show the human side to the white coat that they might not usually see. Consider sharing you and your staff’s bios, show a procedural example, or create how-tos and guides to not only help your patients but stay top-of-mind as well. 

Whether you are a pediatrician in Rockville, a pediatrician in Parker, or a pediatrician in Fall River, the same rules apply. A doctor must earn the trust of their patients to provide the best care possible. Stay in the know with the latest news and science in your industry, admit to mistakes, be honest, stay compassionate, dress appropriately, and consider starting your own social media accounts to start building a strong relationship with their patients.