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Engaging the Patient: First Impressions

By John Cook, Chief Client Officer

It all begins with the greeting. The connection and first impression are critical and will begin a level of trust for the entire patient experience. You have the opportunity to make it a ten. Although you may not be in a clinical role, a patient will need your attention and care at this first moment. You are a part of the caring team.

The patient is most likely in a stressful situation. A warm greeting and a comfortable setting will be a stress reducer. The area should be pleasant, organized, and free from clutter and other papers. Your smile and welcome will be the icing on the cake.

Ask the right questions: Meet people where they are. Judging is not permitted. Everyone is different.

Listen: It may be necessary to clarify. To stay focused, build boundaries as needed to prevent making this process to lengthy.

Communicate: The patient must understand their responsibility. Questions will need to be answered in a clear and concise way. In some cases, it may be necessary to offer the patient some other options. These must be readily available. Take time to clear up any confusion.

Strive to establish a level of trust. All of us in some way have been there either personally or with family members. How can you make it a ten? Give the patient some hope.