Viewpoint: How to turn '10 minutes into 20' with a patient

Faced with "ever-shrinking time slots" for appointments, physicians must learn how to make the most out of the time they do have for face-to-face encounters with patients, Suneel Dhand, MD, an internal medicine physician and author, wrote in an op-ed for Medpage Today.

Dr. Dhand shared the following verbal and nonverbal techniques physicians can use to communicate effectively and still provide a positive patient experience in a short amount of time.

Patients can pick up on a physician who is "visibly on edge and showing signs of being rushed," Dr. Dhand wrote. He said physicians should pay close attention to their facial expression, posture and hand gestures to ensure they are not giving off this impression.

Physicians can also use various verbal techniques to transform "10 minutes into 20," according to Dr. Dhand. These strategies include offering patients uninterrupted talking time, using open-ended questions, practicing active listening and allocating time for a care summary at the end of the visit.

"It's simply about seeking to give our patients the best possible human experience within the constraints of our very fragmented and complex healthcare system," Dr. Dhand concluded. "The rewards for any doctor, both for your patients and your own job satisfaction, are immense."

More articles on patient engagement:

Johns Hopkins researchers develop tool to predict patient no-shows

Where do patients share physician reviews online? 5 survey insights

Colorado children's hospital removes gender markers from patient wristbands

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