Doctors in their first year out of medical school are unlikely to display communications skills that can improve a patient's recovery and lead to greater patient satisfaction, according to a new study from Johns Hopkins University.
Observers recorded the actions of 29 internal medicine interns for three weeks to see whether they used five valued communications skills: introducing themselves, explaining their role to the patient, touching the patient, asking open-ended questions like, "How are you feeling today?," and sitting down with the patient for a conversation.
In total, interns only performed all five behaviors during just 4% of their visits. They only introduced themselves to patients 40% of the time and explained their medical role 37% of the time. The interns only sat down with their patients 9% of the time.
"It's no wonder patients don't feel connected to what we are telling them, because many times we are not doing as much as we could to make that connection," said Dr. Lauren Block, a former general internal medicine fellow at Johns Hopkins. Read the full article here:
Bedside manner is important. As this article demonstrates, it not only makes the patient more trusting of the doctor, but it promotes greater healing. With increasing pressure to bill more due to lower health insurance reimbursement rates, this behavior is unlikely to improve without a concerted effort by hospital administrators and medical school leaders.
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