Physicians frequently bemoan some patients’ pretentious, overbearing attitude and the lack of personal hygiene, and complain about being pestered outside of the office, in their private time.
However, there are two sides to every story, and patients also have their fair share of poor experiences with doctors to divulge. Here are some of the greatest “offenses” of physicians as seen by their patients.
1. Looking Down on Patients
No one likes being treated like a child. The doctor’s profession deserves a magnitude of respect but it’s a choice, not an obligation. A diploma in medicine does not automatically authorize healthcare staff to abuse their status and patronize patients or colleagues. That seems apparent, yet many patients feel intimidated by their doctors’ attitude to the point they avoid asking questions about their condition for fear of ridicule.
2. Withholding Information
This annoying doctors’ behavior is closely tied to the previous one. Some physicians are very frugal with words, assuming that patients won’t understand the details of their illness anyway. It’s an extremely harmful and condescending approach that may jeopardize the entire treatment.
76% of patients want more information about how to improve their own health
When they leave a doctor’s office, they should be well-versed in their condition and the action plan to combat it. It is in the best interest of the treatment that no question remains unanswered. By providing your patients with explicit information about their ailment, you allow them greater control over their health and facilitate recovery.
3. Keeping Long Wait Times
Although most doctors think long wait times have little impact on the choice of a medical provider, in fact, they are among the top reasons why patients switch to another practice. Emergencies and delays will always happen, but patient queues can be noticeably reduced thanks to a combination of time management best practices and modern technology. Mobile queueing software, online appointment systems, or patient portals are just a few solutions that streamline appointment-taking and reduce wait times.
4. Being Difficult to Reach
A doctor’s profession is not a 9-5 job. Even if your practice is only open during regular business hours, being there for your patients whenever they need it is all part of the game. The most innocent symptoms may sometimes turn into a life-threatening condition, so patients should never feel like a nuisance when they want to reach out for your help.
To show patients respect, provide them with several methods of after-hours contact. Make sure they can get in touch with you by text, phone, or email, and always get back to them. If you feel some patients are overusing the right for a 24/7 access to your expertise, consider solutions such as medical call answering services, which help doctors maintain the work-life balance as they remain available in the case of an emergency.
5. Making Patients Fill Out Tons of Paperwork
Patient charts, logs, information sheets, data protection forms… Most of us despise bureaucracy. Your patients also find it infuriating when they must fill out the same papers again before each visit. Fortunately, there’s a host of digital tools and resources designed to help medical facilities decrease paperwork.
84 percent of patients prefer the electronic check-in over checking in using traditional paper documentation
Affordable smart solutions that deal with this issue include paperless intake forms, online registration systems, or pre-authorization software. By implementing some of them, you will improve the patient experience by reducing the amount of information stored on paper and streamlining appointments.
6. Not Listening
From the doctors’ standpoint, remaining sharp and focused throughout every single visit may be challenging. Physicians deal with too many patients in too little time, they’re overwhelmed by various tasks, and frequently face fatigue and a lack of motivation. However, none of these factors should affect the interaction with patients, who expect to be heard. That’s why the ability to listen is one of the most crucial skills for any doctor.
You can effectively improve your listening capabilities by taking a course in communication skills. To avoid frustrating interruptions during patients’ visits, use a ‘Do not disturb’ sign. Consider also forwarding incoming calls to keep your phone from ringing when you are seeing a patient.
Conclusion - Things That Annoy Patients
The above are the most common offenses against the ‘doctor-patient’ relationship. Are you guilty of some of them?
Being a doctor involves diligence and expert knowledge, but it also asks for empathy and outstanding interpersonal skills. By hearing out your patients and showing commiseration, you establish their trust and make sure they’ll return to you next time if needs be. Even small adjustments to your attitude will demonstrate professionalism, help avoid conflicts, and increase patient loyalty.