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Don't Underestimate Emotional Intelligence

Jacqueline Fellows, for HealthLeaders Media, March 6, 2014

Zipp says emotional intelligence is not about making physicians seem happier or easier to be around. It's about recognizing the best way to give a patient information. Zipp uses the example of patients who have a paternalistic view of physicians. He says with these patients, it's probably not best to walk in the exam room with five or six options and then ask what he or she prefers. These type of patients expect a physician to be the expert.

"You have to go into with a couple of options and say, 'Here's what I recommend,' " he says. "It really comes down to how physicians relate with their patients and really access a patients' resilience and their ability to overcome or manage their medical condition."

"Patients' responses and [the] ability to read the room is something we can teach physicians to be perceptive of," says Zipp. "It's powerful, and it permits us to reflect upon our actions, and do better the next time."

When it comes to transitioning patients out of the hospital to another provider, Zipp says a doctors' relationship with the patient can impact the outcome.

"I think emotional intelligence speaks to the relationship a patient has with their physician," says Zipp. "It's going to put the patient in the best possible healing environment."

Rick Lopes, MD, SVP of health networks for SCLHS will be talking about the strategies used to pick Univita Health as a partner during our March 14 webcast. He will be joined by Amy Boutwell, MD, MPP, founder of Collaborative Healthcare Strategies. She is also a physician at Newton-Wellesley Hospital (MA) and co-founder of the State Action on Avoidable Rehospitalizations (STAAR) Initiative of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement.

Jacqueline Fellows is an editor for HealthLeaders Media.
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