Patients School Doctors in Manners
Most Patients Want Doctors to Shake Their Hands and Introduce Themselves
WebMD News Archive
Patients' Views continued...
Less than half of the patients answered the question about other things
their doctor should do when they first meet. Their top requests were for
doctors to do the following:
- Be friendly, personable, polite, respectful, calm, and attentive
- Make the patient feel like a priority
- Make eye contact with them
In most of the videos -- 82% -- doctors and patients shook hands. But in
half of the videotaped doctor-patient meetings, half of the doctors never
mentioned the patient's name at all.
Meet and Greet
Based on the survey, the researchers came up with a simple script for
doctors to use in greeting new patients.
"If Dr. Robert Franklin is meeting Ms. Jane Smith, we would suggest that
he say: "Jane Smith? Hi, I'm Bob Franklin."
Makoul and colleagues also suggest that doctors ask their new patients how
they want to be addressed and put those preferences in the patient's medical
records for future reference.
"On return visits, we suggest that previous meetings be acknowledged
during the greeting (e.g., "Hello, Ms. Smith; good to see you again).
Greetings in return visits can convey a great deal about how much a physician
remembers or cares about a patient," write the researchers.
- If you had a wish list of things you want from your doctor, what would be
on it? More time during visits? More answers to questions? Tell us what you
need that you aren't getting from your health care team.