Tips for Helping Your Patients Understand Complex Medical Information

Practice Management

Communication between doctors and patients in a medical office can have a tremendous impact on the decisions patients make about medical care. For patients to not only make wise decisions about their health but also have a positive patient experience, it is necessary to communicate clearly with them. Here are some tips on how to explain complex medical information to your patients. 

Be mindful of time

You have a limited amount of time with each patient, and overloading them with information can confuse rather than clarify things. You do not need to provide all the minute details of a procedure or course of treatment in order for them to make a responsible decision. Offer the critical information and perhaps direct them to your website or give them a brochure with additional details if the patient wants more information. 

Overcome common communication challenges

Understanding these barriers to clear communication can allow you to present information to patients quickly and concisely. 

Avoid using technical or medical jargon

According to the Royal College of General Practitioners, many patients are unfamiliar with even simple medical terms you may use on a daily basis. For example, tell patients you are running tests to check for liver disease rather than saying they are being tested for hepatic disease. Using simple, straightforward language can help the patient understand what you are communicating and save you the time of explaining the medical terms they may not have understood. 

Enlist the help of friends or family members

Many patients bring someone along for support. Senior patients may bring an adult child, or teenagers may come with a parent. If the patient willingly consents, it can be beneficial to have the support person present when explaining the treatment or procedure. A second set of ears can help remember important information about post-treatment care, and having a trusted person in the room allows patients to feel more comfortable when complex information is being explained. 

Use visual aids

Using visual aids such as X -rays, charts, or scales can assist with communication. In some cases, you may even draw a diagram or ask the patient to draw a picture of where their pain is located. This is especially useful when the patient does not speak your language. Be open to incorporating pictures and other visual aids when needed.

Listen to the patient

Even if a patient appears to understand what you have been saying, asking for verbal confirmation is wise. Request patients to repeat care plans back to you to ensure the information was retained. Ask if the patient has any questions about the treatment or care plan, and listen closely to the answers to determine whether the patient understands what you have been trying to communicate. 

Find new ways to improve your patient experience

Communication and patient education are vital to a positive patient experience. Doctor Genius knows that patients who understand their diagnosis, treatment plan, and care options are much more likely to feel comfortable and be satisfied with you and your practice. Contact a trained team member today and customize a patient experience package to help improve patient retention. Add more loyal patients to your practice and see how quickly it grows. 

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