Doctor-Patient Interactions

On the second day of Dan O’Connell’s visit, he addressed a lunchtime group of clinicians on how to communicate more effectively with patients. Although I am not a medical doctor, I took away some key points that can make interactions with any client go more smoothly.

He emphasized that the doctor and staff must work as a team. The worst thing a doctor can say upon meeting a patient is, “What brings you in today?” The patient has already shared his or her concerns with the medical assistant and usually the referring physician, so an opening statement like that signals that the group is not working together.

A little preparation–even a five minute huddle with staff before clinic–can go a long way in smoothing out the day. This is advice that translates to many settings.

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