The provider-patient relationship “has been and remains a keystone of care: the medium in which data are gathered; diagnoses and plans are made; compliance is accomplished; and healing, patient activation, and support are provided.”– Dr. Susan Dorr Goold and Dr. Mack Lipkin Jr.

Strategies to Improve the Patient Experience

1. Start with a positive entrance and introduction

  • Knock and ask permission to enter the room
  • Smile and establish eye contact; shake hands
  • Greet the patient and family, if present, by name
  • Introduce yourself and explain your role
  • Apologize if they waited more than 15 minutes
  • Sit down to talk and keep your focus on the patient

2. Employ active listening and agenda setting

  • Ask the patient how you can best help them today, and listen to them without interrupting
  • Explain to the patient what to expect during today’s visit; use models, photos, or diagrams to explain problems or procedures when possible
  • Wash or sanitize your hands in front of your patients before and after any physical exam
  • Present treatment options, including risks and benefits
  • Involve the patient in devising care plans and confirm their understanding of the information
  • Explain possible side effects of medications

3. Exit gracefully

  • Ask if all of the patient’s concerns or questions have been addressed
  • Ensure that the patient knows what will happen next in terms of follow-up appointments, tests, or procedures
  • Smile, shake hands, thank the patient for coming, and invite the patient to call with any further questions

If you’re interested in case-based education related to improving the patient experience for your healthcare providers, please contact us at

Please be advised that this educational content provided by Med-IQ does not constitute, nor is it meant to be construed as, legal advice or legal recommendations.  If legal advice is requested or required, please consult the attorney for your organization.  This educational content and the risk management advice are not intended to eliminate all practices which could cause adverse events or give rise to claims or suits.  Compliance with risk management advice does not ensure and does not warrant or guarantee fulfillment of your obligations under any laws, regulations, or accrediting agency standards.  Protection from discovery cannot be guaranteed.

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