Listening Techniques

Sit and listen, wait, and check your biases. These steps describe an approach to patient care that yields powerful results, according to Vu Kiet Tran, MD, MHSc, MBA, CHE. Tran, a family physician who is also board certified in emergency medicine, teaches physicians and medical students practical approaches to increase their job satisfaction and hone their diagnosis and treatment skills. One such approach addresses the challenge of making on-the-spot clinical decisions based on available information that may be inadequate, incomplete, or even inaccurate.

“The more information we can gather, the more accurate the diagnosis and treatment, and the fewer the errors,” Tran says.

Tran’s three-point approach to gathering adequate information and making a more accurate diagnosis begins with active listening. He advises physicians to pull up a chair, sit down, and take time to hear what the patient has to say.  

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