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Two men discussing medical treatment.

Tactics to Help Avoid Treatment Confusion

Confusion regarding treatment can lead to a lack of clarity.  Lack of understanding leads to lack of engagement from your patient. A failure of the provider/patient communication and education process, however, can be avoided.

Why do I HAVE to do that?

And, no, we are not referring to your children asking this question.

Sometimes patients ask this same question. This pushback from patients frequently comes from poor communication exchanges.

Confusion regarding treatment can lead to a lack of clarity. Lack of understanding leads to lack of engagement from your patient. Subsequently, the patient may feel the treatment mentioned is unnecessary or may not fully understand the treatment may be time sensitive. When communication is poor or absent patients may not believe the outcome of your recommendations are worth their time, money or compliance.

A failure of the provider/patient communication and education process, however, can be avoided. Patients require an exchange of communication with you and your team in order to establish trust and engage in their care.

To avoid communication failures, try these tactics:

  • Maintain good eye contact
  • Don’t interrupt the patient
  • Watch your non-verbal body language
  • Involve family and caregivers when possible
  • Ask open-ended questions
  • Avoid technical jargon
  • Explain
  • Educate
  • Allow time for and encourage patients to ask questions
  • Review key information discussed
  • Ask for the patient’s commitment to the treatment plan
  • End with a statement of encouragement

For more information on this topic, visit our resources:

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