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How to Train Physicians on Patient Experience

Marianne Aiello, for HealthLeaders Media, December 12, 2012

Not every doctor is a people person. For every physician with a pristine bedside manner, there is one that just doesn't quite connect with his or her patients. And while both doctors may have the same clinical expertise, we know which one is providing a better patient experience.

In the past, and for some organizations, in present day, hospital administrators have allowed these detached, grumpy, jargony, and spacey physicians to get by with their ways.

That's just how they are, the thinking goes. But now, with the patient satisfaction survey element of the pay-for-performance system built into healthcare reform, those physicians can no longer be left to their own quirky devices.

All doctors—young or old, personable or off-putting—can be taught to more effectively communicate with patients and improve their hospital experience. 

The importance of patient experience training
All doctors at Tacoma, WA-based hospitalist group Sound Physicians receive initial and ongoing patient experience training. The 500+ physician group's Vice President of Patient Experience and Physician Development Mark Rudolph, MD, says patient experience training is vital on two levels:

  1. To educate doctors about the true patient experience mission
  2. To teach physicians  the most effective communication techniques in order to achieve that mission's goals
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