The Journal of the Arkansas Medical Society Med Journal March 2020 Final 2 - Page 9
It’s the same question, but you’ve sent
some subliminal messages to the patient:
you’re prepared, you trust Suzy and therefore
so can they, and you value what they have to
AMS: In your advice to clinicians, why
do you stress the importance of per-
sonally connecting to patients?
Dickens: I encourage everyone on staff
to make initial contact with each patient that
comes in. When a patient approaches the front
desk, they need eye contact from the person
behind the desk. They can see that the recep-
tionist is busy or on the phone, but they still
need someone to acknowledge their presence.
I’m the patient. When you enter the exam
room, and you’re looking at the chart when
you speak to me, you’ve missed an opportunity
to connect on a personal level. If you then try to
be social, that really doesn’t work. In the exam
room, you want to make eye contact, introduce
yourself, and call the patient by name, under-
standing that no matter what you say, most of
your communication with the patient comes
from body language or tone of voice.
little rock pediatric clinic's call center is completely separate from its waiting room.
Since we’ve moved to electronic medical
records, we’ve learned so much more about
body language. What happens now is that
we’re missing the subtle physical cues patients
are giving when we ask them a question—and
they’re missing our sincerity because we’re fo-
cused on the tablet. I get it that we must use
EMR, but let the patient know that you’re still
there by saying things like “What you said is
important, I want to get this in the computer.”
Also, if you knock on the door, wait for a
response before you enter. If you can sit down
and converse with the patient at eye level, that
>>Continued on page 202.
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