More Than Medicine: Bedside Manners Matter


Denver, Colo. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Heart attacks, car accidents, falls, cancer … the list goes on and on. Thirty-four million people will be admitted into a hospital this year. But there’s more to a patient’s care than medicines and surgeries. Beyond medical expertise and technical skills, the way doctors engage with patients has a profound impact on their healing process. Bedside manners matter.

Patch Adams knew it.

In the movie, Robin Williams portrays a doctor who recognizes the intrinsic value of connecting with his patients.

In real life, Pediatric Orthopedic Surgeon, Jaren Riley, has seen firsthand how it can impact the children he works with.

Doctor Riley says, “She was the most beautiful baby I’ve ever seen in my life. And she had scoliosis from the get-go.”

He’s talking about his patient Nellie. He has watched her grow from toddler to teen.

He says, “As we progressed through the years, she went from smiling all the time and talking to me and hugging me to all of a sudden she wouldn’t talk to me at all, and she would avoid eye contact.”

That’s when he started wearing costumes during their visits at the Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children.

He says, “The best one was the tyrannosaurus rex costume.”

Numerous studies show a strong correlation between a positive doctor-patient relationship. Research in the journal of general internal medicine reveals that patients who reported higher levels of satisfaction with their doctor are more likely to adhere to treatment plans, leading to better health outcomes.

Studies also show better doctor-patient relationships lead to reduced medical errors as communication between the two is more open.

Doctor Riley believes he gains much more than he gives.

He says, “You kind of feel like they’re the ones making your day better all day long.”

Research published in the Journal of Participatory Medicine shows that when doctors demonstrate empathy, actively involve patients in decision-making and provide emotional support, it strengthens the bond between them.

Contributors to this news report include: Marsha Lewis, Producer; Matt Goldschmidt Videographer, Roque Correa, Editor.


REPORT #3102

BACKGROUND: These days being a knowledgeable medical professional is not enough. Patients are more apt to trust doctors with good bedside manners. Bedside manners are a physician’s ability to be humane, compassionate, supportive, and empathetic towards their patients. When doctors excel in the coupling of patience and professionalism it yields a great return between doctors and patients. The practice of medicine can be a frightening concept for many patients. In a field that’s ever evolving and packed with trial-and-error, it’s normal for patients to be riddled with anxiety, fear, and even anger. This is why it’s imperative for physicians to soothe those feelings and provide a sense of hope. A successful healthcare professional understands good bedside manners cannot be apart from good medical care.


THE STUDY: In January of 2020, Stanford University researchers created a list that outlines the five best practices of a good-patient-physician relationship. The factors were compiled after a literature review of 73 studies between 1997-2017 revealed promising results. The first factor advises doctors to become acquainted with their patient’s medical history before meeting them. Creating a tentative treatment plan before the appointment can convey feelings of care and intentionality. The second encourages doctors to practice active listening skills. Using their body language to cultivate a sense of openness such as keeping arms unfolded and leaning forward when the patient is speaking. The third focuses on inclusion. If a patient makes a recommendation on what they’d like to see in their care plan, so long as it doesn’t set them back, implement the suggestions into their plan. The fourth pushes clinicians to invest in understanding their patient’s daily life and personal background. This helps them to better empathize with what they may or may not have access to. Finally, the fifth urges doctors to be attentive to the body language of the patient. This typically relays how they’re truly feeling about what’s being said or proposed to them.


NEW RESEARCH IN OBESITY: According to a Wall Street Journal report, hospitals all over the country have begun to find new methods to improve their patient experience ratings. All hospitals are required to conduct surveys known as “Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems” which provide feedback from the patients. These surveys are then used to create a score that is accessible for prospective patients to view and decipher whether they’d like to visit that hospital or not. Heather Geisler, a former senior vice president of global brands for Hyatt Hotels and current affiliate of Henry Ford Health says patient’s expectations are being shaped by the service they’re receiving in other industries. It’s up to the healthcare organizations to meet and exceed those expectations. Five initiatives hospitals have taken to improve the patient experience is: providing exceptionally clean guest suites, offering chef prepared food, utilizing virtual nurses during discharge, being hands on in the patient’s care plan, and consistently displaying empathy and respect.


* For More Information, Contact:

Stephanie Sullivan

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