Time Spent with Patients: Perception is Reality


At the Institute for Podiatric Excellence and Development (IPED) one complaint we hear commonly from physicians is that decreasing reimbursements creates a need for seeing additional patients, which means less time spent with each patient. There are, however, ways to enhance the quality of that time which will make it seem to the patient that you’ve given them more time than you actually have.

Below are some of the best tips for fighting the time crunch and delivering a quality care experience:

  • Prepare for each patient. Either the night before or first thing in the morning, review the charts or EMRs of all the patients scheduled for the day. Knowing the diagnosis, treatments, tests performed and medications the patient is taking will save time of going over items that are already known and make the patient feel that you care about them as an individual.
  • Address the patient by name at least twice in each encounter.
  • Remember the healing power of touch: shake hands, place a hand on the patient’s shoulder, if appropriate and place your hands on their feet for a portion of the time that you are talking with them.
  • Let your body do the talking. Don’t look at the chart or computer during the first minute of your encounter. Don’t stand if the patient is sitting—this puts you in the position of looking down at them. Sit, look directly at the patient and begin your visit with eye-to-eye contact.
  • Don’t speak to your patient at the end of the visit with your hand on the door knob—visually it looks like you are in a rush to get out of the room.
  • Show that you’re really listening. Acknowledge what your patient says with physical cues such as nodding your head. Verbally relate to what the patient is telling you by using key words from their last sentence in your response. For example, if the patient says, “I stopped taking the medication,” answer with, “What about the medication made you stop taking it?”

At IPED, we believe in sharing information to elevate the podiatric profession as a whole. If our mission resonates with you and you would like to learn more about how membership could enhance your practice and your personal satisfaction with your work, contact our Executive Director, Ruth Ann Donahue by calling: 978-296-7634 today.