We always strive to provide the best care to our patients. We do this through many avenues, including locating the best available evidence, utilize our clinical expertise, and understand the individual’s personal expectations and values. This is true evidence-informed practice, which is something that all clinicians do on a regular basis. However, there may be a better strategy to better understand how to treat your patients.
Actively listening to our patients is one of the best treatments we could ever deliver. Being able to learn and understand what patients are experiencing is extremely important to guide the episode of care.
However, sometimes we do not give the patient an opportunity to fully express themselves. Studies have shown that patient are interrupted 27 out of 40 encounters, and with an average of 11 seconds.1
If we do not give our patients the opportunity to tell their story, the healthcare provider will ultimately miss out on a ton of information. Most of the pertinent information is gathered during the first encounter.
We need patients to be an active participant in the process!
Patients need to be active from the get-go and be involved during their respective episode of care. Yes, patients need to be guided by their healthcare professional. However, we as healthcare professionals need to learn how to facilitate that active dialogue and collaboration.
The subjective portion of the initial evaluation is not the only time where listening takes place. This is a continuous process that should be implemented 100% of the time. When performing various interventions and utilizing a test/re-test model, it is so crucial to have an active dialogue and listen to what the patient is experiencing.
The patient has all the answers, so why not let the patient provide that for us.
So next time your patient is in your clinic, sometimes the best thing we can do is just listen.
Article Written By Eric Trauber, PT, DPT, OCS, CSCS, FAAOMPT
- Ospina NS, Phillips KA, Rodriguez-Gutierrez R, Castaneda-Guarderas A, Gionfriddo MR, Branda ME, and Montori VM. Eliciting the patient’s agenda- analysis of recorded clinical encounter. JGIM, 2019:36-40.