Why and How to Connect With Your Patients

Dec 18, 2023 | Human Resources


The Patient-Centered Relationship

It’s very clear: The patient-centered relationship is here to stay.

In fact, study after study has reported that patients of empathetic providers feel more satisfied and empowered, are less anxious, more likely to comply, and have better clinical outcomes.


And it makes sense. When you build each interaction around active listening, asking the right questions, and respecting the perspectives of family members, you also build trust, understanding, and satisfaction in your patients.

You also benefit, as the provider. A satisfied patient who feels heard and understood will return year after year. They might even pay you the highest compliment — word-of-mouth referrals. And don’t forget the camaraderie and connection for its own sake.

Sounds great, right? But what about when the rubber meets the road?

Patient-Centered Care in Practice

One of the most common questions we get from providers is, “How can I be patient-centered without making it seem so dang awkward?”

The best ways to build genuine connection are simple — but they’re not intuitive.

Talk about yourself

You’re probably thinking, “Patients don’t want to hear about us. They came to discuss their hearing problem!”

But put yourself in the patient’s shoes.

When was the last time you learned anything about one of your health providers? Probably never! But if you did, you’d remember it, right? It probably made them more approachable, too.

A person-to-person moment with a health care provider is so rare, it sticks with you when it happens. Try to have that same kind of moment with your patients — it will be a pleasant and memorable surprise. And it will build a connection.

Acknowledge commonalities

While you’re listening to your patients, speak up if they mention something you have in common.

Do you both love dogs? Grab your phone and show them a picture of your beloved little rascal. Are you both active in bible study? Compare favorite passages.

Shared interests foster connection. We gravitate toward people who understand us, so lean in and listen for what you have in common.

Have an unhurried dialogue

An unhurried dialogue with each patient shows you’re interested in them, their day-to-day, and how their hearing is affecting them and their loved ones.

True, this goes against a lot of your training, especially for taking a proper case history. You learned which questions lead to a complete, proper diagnostic test battery. You learned what information is imperative in making an accurate diagnosis.

Few learn, though, about active listening and the power of open-ended questions, which provide a wealth of information. Three unplanned questions might get you to the heart of the matter. Saying, “Tell me more about that,” shows you truly hear them and want to help.

And pauses — even long moments of silence — are a good thing. Yes, it can be difficult! But many patients need time to process some of the more personal and pointed questions. Give them that space. Your patience and grace will not go unnoticed.

Make That Connection

Each patient is hoping you’ll help them with some of the most personal arenas of their life. If you do what you can to make it feel personal — not clinical — you’ve done a lot of the heavy lifting in ensuring patient satisfaction.

Besides, you get to be more of your authentic self, and your patient gets to have a warm and friendly experience. It’s a win-win!

Discover the difference when you have a dedicated
professional-development team at your service!