Does it often feel like you’re bouncing from one exam room to the next without much opportunity to make a connection with the patients you see?

In episode 10 of “Can I Ask You One Question?”, I ask Erin O’Malley for her thoughts on how doctors can make a real connection with the patients they serve, even in a busy practice without much time for personal chit chat.

Erin O’Malley works with teams and organizations to help build cultures of connection through bold communication. She’s all about helping teams show up, engage, and connect.

Below are the key points from the interview. Scroll down to see the entire interview.

First impressions count! Greet the patient with a smile, an affirmation, and maintain eye contact.

This seems like common sense but think about how you normally walk in – eyes on a tablet or a chart with no initial eye contact, smile, or moment to connect.

Take the first few minutes to “curiously listen.” Don’t make the patient feel like they’re just another person you have to deal with. This requires you to block out all the daily distractions and just be with the patient in that moment.

“Listening doesn’t count unless I feel heard.”

Smile, open with a genuine question, and say thank you for being here – this acknowledges people and puts them at ease.

Remember to use your patient’s name and introduce yourself. Erin shared a story of how she recently had to ask her doctor what his name was several minutes into the exam.

“Take a minute to slow down.”

All of this can happen in 3 minutes.


Ps. No time for videos (even short ones)? Subscribe to the podcast: Can I Ask You One Question? Bite-sized content you can immediately apply to your practice. Available on most podcast platforms! 

Pps. If you want to learn more about connecting with patients, check out my book Prescribing Change, where I discuss the C.O.N.N.E.C.T. Method.