Rapport is the ability or the skill to relate to others in such a way that it creates a level of trust and understanding between the patient and the health care professional and is one of the key ingredients to increase the business. Building trust and familiarity with your patients/ clients can make them feel more comfortable and be honest when talking to you about their health. This in turn helps you pick up their shortcomings and work on them to provide them better results. Better results, in turn, increase your word-of-mouth references and help you grow your business.
Good rapport helps in creating a close and harmonious relationship with the patients which ultimately helps you know you, patients. Once you build a rapport with your patients and understand their personalities, you’ll be able to note minor details that may give you a hint of the possible health problems that your patient might face as well as help you keep the patient cooperative and in good spirits.
BREAK THE ICE
For many individuals, starting a conversation with a stranger is generally a stressful event. As a healthcare professional you might also come across patients who might not be able to express themselves well and might feel awkward explaining their problems. This might be evident in their body language and mannerism too. In such a scenario, as a health care professional, you should take the lead and start the conversation by asking open and simple questions. Creating rapport at the beginning of a conversation with someone who is an introvert will not only make the outcome of the conversation more positive but will also put the patient at ease and help him or her to discuss the problems. Adopting a similar approach that is more friendly to them in terms of your body language, gestures, voice tone, and speed will act as an add-on.
Effective communication is the foundation that helps a healthcare professional establish trust with his/her patients. The choice of words and sentences and the tone used to go a long way in rapport building. You can start with a getting-to-know-you phase with the patient that works much better if you can quickly ask them to narrate their problems from the beginning with relevant questions in between. Remember not to interrupt the patient and do not try to stop them in between as this is generally not liked by the patients.
Empathy is yet another way of building rapport with the patients and is the ability to understand the patient’s situation, perspective, and feelings. It allows a healthcare professional to deliver more customized and personalized patient care. Try to imagine how the patient feels and display the same in your body language and tone. Alleviate or reduce patient fears by explaining what actions you plan to pursue or in other words what treatment you are going to provide, why you are doing it or the logic behind the same along with the possible outcomes or results.
Active listening is an essential holistic healthcare tool. It is a non-intrusive way of allowing a patient shares his/her thoughts and feelings. As a thumb rule, listen to what the patient is saying patiently and repeat what you heard to the patient. Thereafter check with the patient to ensure whether your reflection is appropriate. You should portray yourself as a calm and competent healthcare professional who is in control of the situation. Avoid being judgmental as patients are vulnerable when they approach a health care professional and need to feel accepted.
When you have a good rapport with your patients, you can disagree with what they say and still relate
respectfully with them but this not going to happen overnight or in the first meeting but will take a couple of meetings. The important point to remember is to strive to create a conducive atmosphere in each meeting and acknowledge other people’s viewpoints and opinions.