This FABI Nugget is brought to you by the letter P. We have to look no further in the alphabet to find the key to building rapport with your patients. Keeping these P’s in mind can ensure a Positive experience with each encounter.
Punctual: Nothing says respect better than punctuality. Seeing a patient at their appointed time is not only surprising to many patients, but shows them that a) you value their time and b) you prefer to keep a schedule.
Polished: So you show up on time to the appointment and the patient is already Pleased, but you’ve entered the room in wrinkled scrubs and tarnished shoes – not a good look. You’ve gone from wow this doctor respects my time to gosh does this doctor respect him or herself? Being Polished means you’ve taken some time to make sure you “appear” to take pride in your appearance. A pressed white clinic coat, a nice watch, polished shoes – patients are looking for a healthcare provider and yes this matters probably more than we think.
Present: Now you’re in the treatment room on time and you look the part of healthcare professional, but your cell phone keeps pinging and you’ve got other things on your mind. If you can’t be present with a patient, why are you there? With each visit, the only person that matters at that time is the patient in front of you, so be present for them. Turn off all alerts or simply don’t take your phone in the room. Patients will appreciate it and you will be focused on providing better care.
Personal: You’re on time, you look the part and you have no distractions. It’s time to get personal. This is the time to connect with your patient – to understand who they are, why they’re in your treatment chair and what goals you can help them achieve. The importance of a personal connection cannot be undervalued when it comes to compliance and referrals.
Professional: But let’s not get too personal with patients as that can be a recipe for disaster, so always remember to keep the visit professional. Sure a patient may be a family friend or bring you a cake, but always maintain a respectful distance physically and emotionally.
Personable: Now that you’ve gotten to know the patient in a personal yet professional way, let them in on who you are by being personable. This is the friendly handshake or fist-bump, the smile, and the eye contact. It’s also about offering the patient some insight to your life – did you suffer from the same problem that brought them to see you? Do you have kids or elderly parents you’re caring for that resonates with the person in front of you?
Positive: Keep what you share with a patient positive and focus on their goals in a positive way. Positivity trumps negativity in every way when it comes to patient care and results.
It’s a Pivotal time for you to Practice with Purpose. I Promise Prosperity comes from Persistence – you must be Patient to become Prolific.
So go ahead and “P” all over your patients – figuratively speaking of course. Literally doing so would lead you to yet another P – Prison.
Matthew C. Dairman, DPM MS