Patient Engagement

The challenge most health care providers face is not one of how to engage patients, but rather how to be engaging to patients.  Steve Wilkins tells us "The 10 Commandments of Patient Engagement"[1]:

  1. Act like you are glad to see them (patients) and have time for them… no matter how busy you really are
  2. Say something relevant to suggest that you actually remember who they are – don’t get this one wrong
  3. Ask how they have been since their last appointment and what brings them in to see you today
  4. Probe for the patient’s ideas as to the cause of their complaints and what they would like you to do for them
  5. Listen to what the patient has to say without interruption – ask clarifying questions
  6. Tell the patient what you recommend doing in the way of tests, treatments and new medications…and explain why you are making those recommendations – ask if that’s ok with the patient…if it’s not ok find out why
  7. Pay attention to patient-initiated cues (loss of a job or loved one, sighing…) – they probably are a call for help
  8. Express empathy and support to patients
  9. Find out what your patient’s health goals are and what steps they believe they can take to achieve them, e.g., care planning
  10. Ask about or suggest ways that you and your team can support patients’ long-term care plans

References

  1. Steve Wilkins. The 10 Commandments of Patient Engagement. Mind The Gap, accessed 1/2/2013 at http://healthecommunications.wordpress.com/2012/12/24/the-10-commandments-of-patient-engagement/