As an optometrist, it’s important for you to establish a good relationship with your patients. In fact, studies have shown that patient satisfaction and health outcomes are both affected by whether patients feel that the people caring for them are sensitive to their needs.

So how can you improve patient communication? It can be easy to rush through patients, especially if you have a heavy workload and are pressed for time. However, it’s important to make sure you’re hearing and working to address each patient’s concerns or complaints.

Clear communication means patients are also less likely to complain or file a lawsuit, alleging error or missed diagnosis.

Tips to improve patient communication

It can be difficult to communicate consistently with each client, but every optometrist and health care professional should strive to improve in these areas.

Listen to what patients have to say. Patients want to know they’re being heard, even in cases where they know nothing can be done to change a situation.

Always explain what is happening. Medical appointments can cause some patients anxiety and stress. Reassure your patients by informing them of the care they are receiving or the procedure that is occurring.

Put yourself in your patients’ shoes. Be aware that age gaps and cultural differences can cause communication difficulties. Try different a different approach if your typical methods don’t seem to be working.

Patients who are satisfied with the people who provide their health care are likely to respond better to treatment. They are also less likely to complain or file a lawsuit, which means that their peace of mind is ultimately your peace of mind.

In addition to better client communication, malpractice insurance is another way to protect your practice. AOA has partnered with Lockton Affinity to provide malpractice insurance designed specifically for AOA members. Learn more.

Coverage may not be available in all states and is subject to actual policy terms and conditions.  Coverage is provided by an excess/surplus lines insurer which is not licensed by or subject to the supervision of the insurance department of your state of residence. Policy coverage forms and rates are not subject to regulation by the insurance department of your state of residence. Excess/surplus lines insurers do not generally participate in state guaranty funds and therefore insureds are not protected by such funds in the event of the insurer’s insolvency.