Maintaining Positive Doctor-Patient Relationships Having a very strong doctor-patient relationship is very important to a thriving medical practice. A very good relationship helps to create happy patients who are more likely to be loyal to your practice and adhere strictly to prescribed treatment plans. Definitely, a doctor’s experience and credentials matter, but it’s usually their personal characteristics that leaves a lasting impression. The doctor-patient relationship plays a very critical role in your overall medical treatment. It can influence everything starting from the frequency of your patient’s visits to their self-care habits. Ultimately, how well you get along with your patients could even impact their overall wellness. A patient must have total confidence in the competence of their physician and must be able to feel that they can confide in him or her. For most physicians, the establishment of good rapport with a patient is very important. Some specialties of medicine, such as psychiatry and family medicine, emphasize on the doctor–patient relationship more than others, such as pathology or radiology, which have very little contact with their patients. It can be very challenging to strike a balance between keeping patients satisfied and also, maintaining your professionalism. In one recent study published in Internal Medicine, researchers at a School of Medicine reviewed 1,318 visits to 55 family physicians at the Family Medicine Clinic. They discovered that patients visited their physicians with more specific requests, such as a request for a referral, lab test or new medication, 67 percent of the time. Their doctors usually fulfilled such requests 84 percent of the time, but when they denied a request, the patient satisfaction scores drop by an average of about 20 points. Of course, you cannot cater to all of your patients' wish. Some of the requests in the study involved demands for narcotic pain medication or unnecessary antibiotics, for instance, but there's still a lot you can do to help improve patient satisfaction and foster a strong doctor-patient relationship. Cultivate good communication with your patients, pay attention to them, don’t just use your ears, watch your patients for non-verbal cues that can offer insight into their concerns. Keep cultural and generational factors in mind; note that cultural values and beliefs can affect patients' general health behaviors and the recognition of their symptoms, and that your own assumptions may also have an impact on their care. If you work with non-English-speaking patients, offer access to translators or interpreters to help understand you patient better. Age is also a very important factor to consider, research has proven that patients’ desired routes if communication depend on their generation, for example millennials like to receive appointment reminders, follow-up and alert notifications via phone, text or email. Be available, you may not be able to receive every phone call from all of your patients but encourage staff members to return messages and emails in a timely manner, this will make patients feel that their health are priorities for you.