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    Solving problem patients

    Research suggests patient encounters are deteriorating, but solutions are at hand


    How to improve relationships

    But there are things urologists and other providers can do to improve therapeutic relationships with patients.

    Read: How to manage your reputation, recruit patients online

    A first step for urologists, according to the monograph, is for the doctor to understand his or her reactions to patients’ behaviors in order to avoid labeling or stigmatizing patients.

    In an editorial comment that was part of the monograph, J. Curtis Nickel, MD, wrote that he used to think many of his patients with prostatitis and interstitial cystitis were difficult.

    “I have learned that it is really the condition that is difficult, rather than the patients,” wrote Dr. Nickel, who is professor of urology at Queen’s University, Kingston, ON.

    Urologists should use a more biopsychosocial style of communication versus a straight biomedical approach, according to the monograph. A biopsychosocial style recognizes that illness is influenced by social and psychosocial factors, in addition to biological factors. Urologists also should try to understand patients’ psychosocial environments, according to the monograph.

    Be clear, speak slowly, encourage patient participation, and focus on patient-centered interactions, in which patients have more control of the conversation and can express more emotion, the monograph advises.

    Dr. Nickel suggests urologists take patients’ complaints seriously and learn how their conditions impact their lives. Urologists should set realistic expectations, recognize poor coping strategies, and make enough time to listen, examine, and discuss.

    Also see: How important is urology/gynecology collaboration?

    “Stay positive and supportive,” Dr. Nickel wrote.

    Next: "It all starts at the front desk"

    Lisette Hilton
    Lisette Hilton, president of Words Come Alive, has written about health care, the science and business of medicine, fitness and wellness ...


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