What kind of doctors do patients prefer? Every practicing doctor understands the importance of the doctor-patient relationship in healthcare and practice of medicine. It remains a keystone of patient care. While many a good physician would treat the disease, the great physician would treat the patient who has the disease. Patients realise this and as a result, have certain expectations while dealing with their doctors. So what does the doctor need to do to play this role effectively? Pay attention A lot of times through practice and habit, once the patient says what their presenting complaint is, we already have a mental format of how the interview should go. So we often find ourselves rushing through the 'unimportant' things they're saying so that we could be done ASAP. But the truth is, patients don't want to see a robotic doctor. They want to know you actually pay attention to them This however, does not mean you should let the patient ramble on (after all there are others waiting to be seen), but do this in a gentle and tactful manner. Be transparent Let patients know as much as they need to about their health. It helps to build trust in them when you show your willingness to let them have relevant information concerning their health. In this era of smartphones and abundant internet, they are just a Google search away from getting answer anyway so there is no need for mystery. They're also better off getting it from you than from an unreliable internet source. Connect with your patients As much as professionalism is required in the practice of medicine, being friendly never hurt anyone. Connecting with your patients on a personal level helps to build trust which also means that they get to open up more. Further information is made available to you which translates to better care. Patients are more likely to return to the doctor who doesn't just treat their illness but is also like a friend to them. Effective communication Your patients should be aware of everything concerning their management including the good and the bad. Let them know the prognosis of their illness and the treatment options available to them. Do not sugar-coat or otherwise for added emphasis. Tell it as it is. They appreciate this as it makes them feel like individuals who have a stake in their own care rather than feeling helpless and at your mercy. Compliance to patients' needs There is a slow but sure drift towards patient satisfaction-centred care. Government-run healthcare programs such as Medicare and the Affordable Care Act are serving to promote models which pay doctors based on patient satisfaction. In a new analysis conducted in California, it was reported that patients tended to give poor ratings to doctors who deny them specific requests for things like drugs, investigations, or referrals to other specialists. While this doesn't mean that every patient's request must be granted (not all are reasonable or justified anyway), it does have some implications regarding doctors' dealings with patients. If you will refuse their wish, do well to explain to them why, and how it is in their best interests. All in all, just be a doctor who really cares about their patients and this manifesting in several ways, would ensure continued patient satisfaction.