ITEMS IN FPM ON TOPIC:
Encouraging patients to talk about their goals rather than their obstacles can lead to long-term change.
Half of our patients do not take their medications, but we can change that.
Successful use requires us to change our thinking about ourselves.
Steer patients away from inappropriate and overused procedures that can diminish health care.
A written policy, systematic process, and simple tools can help you to prescribe opioids safely and securely.
Asking patients this one question can lead to better outcomes.
Analyzing and eliminating physical and procedural barriers to immunization allowed this practice to improve its performance.
In recent years, there has been an increase in patients refusing to get immunized, concerned with potential side effects or unconvinced that the shots are necessary. That has allowed some previously declining diseases to make a resurgence. Physicians, who remain the biggest influence on whether patients get vaccinated, need to find ways to address and overcome these reservations when talking with patients about getting immunized. Strategies include explaining the risks and benefits of vaccination; steering patients toward factual, pro-vaccination websites and literature; and working with community leaders and clergy who may also influence patients' decisions about vaccination.
A significant percentage of patients have limited health literacy, meaning they have trouble finding, understanding, and using health-related information to make good decisions about their medical care and personal health. This can complicate a physician's attempts to explain a patient's condition and steer them toward better health decisions. Considering the likelihood of a patient's poor health literacy, physicians should adjust their communication strategy with all patients, making sure to use simpler explanations, focus on two or three key messages per visit, speak slowly, ask patients to repeat instructions to ensure understanding, and make sure printed materials are easy to understand.
A simple mnemonic will help you focus on your patients' communication style.