Effective Physician-patient Communication Key to Achieving Goals of Care

Physician Patient CommunicationEven with the Meaningful Use objectives of electronic health records (EHRs), medical transcription outsourcing continues to be relevant. Physicians use dictation and transcription to document those sections of the patient encounter that are not specifically required to be structured. Medical transcription companies provide effective documentation support, allowing physicians to focus on their patients. Communication between caregivers and patients is a subject that has always received a lot of attention, more so in this age of the EHR. In fact, the transcripts of consultations can provide valuable information about the nature of physician-patient communication.

The doctor-patient relationship is a complex one. The goals of physician-patient communication are to create a good interpersonal relationship, promote information giving and information seeking, and enable the physician and the patient to collaborate in making treatment decisions. This is crucial to achieve the goals of care. Physicians need to listen to the patient, show empathy and manage conflicts. However, studies have revealed a lot could be done to improve patient-doctor communication.

  • A recent study aimed at evaluating physicians’ attitudes towards obese patients was based on an analysis of the transcripts of visits. The Johns Hopkins researchers obtained permission to record discussions between 39 primary care doctors and more than 200 patients who had high blood pressure. The transcripts showed that physicians treated thin patients with more warmth and empathy than those who are overweight or obese!
  • Virtual patients are often used to teach empathy. One study that analyzed medical students’ interactions with patients found that the students communicated empathically with virtual patients, but showed less empathy than physicians interacting with live patients.
  • Some physicians find it difficult to deal with patients who already have a diagnosis in mind – thanks to Dr. Google. Medical Economics reported on the Dr. Google syndrome which could create conflict during the office consultation. To resolve the conflict, the author recommends that physician listens to Internet savvy patients, be attentive to their underlying emotions, and win over their trust. This will help physicians provide the right information and advice about their care.

A 2012 NCBI study which discussed doctor-patient consultations highlighted the role of transcripts in providing information about the medical consultation. The team used a special visual text analytic to analyze transcripts and identify interaction patterns present in effective consultations, where both the doctor and patient communicated appropriately. The researchers recommend that practitioners also use this technique to assess their own task and rapport-building competence from the transcript.

The comprehensive EHR-integrated medical transcription service provided by reliable outsourcing companies allows physicians to adhere to best practices for effective consultations. This invaluable support can go a long way in promoting patient satisfaction, treatment adherence, and reduced incidence of adverse events.