Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Doctors urged to make good first impression

From Reuters:

Doctors should know that when meeting a new patient for the first time there is no second chance to make a good first impression, researchers said on Monday.

Almost all patients want to be greeted by name when seeing a doctor for the first time and want to shake hands, a survey of patients found. But while handshakes are common, doctors often never utter the patient's name, the researchers said.

"Greetings are just a small slice of the visit, but they can have a lasting impact," study leader Gregory Makoul of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine said in a telephone interview.

It's the first impression that can really set the tone for the rest of the encounter and for the doctor-patient relationship."

Not only that -- manners can prevent mistakes.

"It's not only a feel-good exercise," said Dr. Sheldon Horowitz of the American Board of Medical Specialties, whose 24 member boards certify U.S. physicians.

"There is some correlation between good communication between the physician and patient and actually good outcomes in patient care."


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