How to Maintain a Healthy Patient Doctor Relationship


A husband and wife. Mother and child. Business partners. There are so many relationships that require a special dynamic to function efficiently. And the doctor patient relationship is one of them. A patient must feel comfortable with their doctor and the office environment. There’s also the matter of doctor patient privilege which guarantees a patient privacy and confidentiality related to their healthcare and history. But how do you select the right doctor and what can you do, as the patient, to maintain a healthy working relationship? Continue reading to find out.

How to Choose the Right Doctor

If you’re looking for a new physician, there are a few things to consider before committing.


Healthy-Patient-Doctor-RelationshipThe location of the doctor’s office is extremely important, especially if you have any type of medical condition that makes it difficult to travel. Some doctors have offices in several locations, which may make things easier for you. Find out where the offices are located and make sure it’s convenient. Consider the commute during the winter months or inclement weather. You should also check the office hours. Do they offer weekend services or an emergency line and on-call doctors? Based on your medical needs, these are all important factors to consider.

Office Staff

It’s not just the doctor that you’ll be dealing with once you choose a physician. You’ll have many important interactions with the nurses and office staff, so take their behavior, efficiency, and demeanor into consideration as well. Are the receptionists pleasant when you call to schedule an appointment? Are they flexible if you need to change your appointment for any reason? These are also the people you’ll deal with when you need referrals or request copies of other important documents and paperwork. Are they efficient in keeping and maintaining medical records? Many times a nurse will return your call if you have a question or call you for a follow-up after your visit, to ensure that your condition has improved. Do the nurses do this and act genuinely concerned? It’s important the nurses take genuine interest in your condition and overall health and wellbeing.

Bedside Manner

Healthy-Patient-Doctor-RelationshipWhen it comes to choosing a doctor, bedside manner may be the most important thing to consider. You want a doctor who makes you feel comfortable and gives you adequate time at each visit. If the interaction feels rushed and cold, you may want to consider a new doctor. Does your physician ask about your personal and family life? Do they perform a thorough and complete exam? You’d find several physicians who are interested in the overall wellbeing of the patient. Does your doctor know, understand, and remember your medical background? This is crucial not only for your comfort level but also for your safety. If your doctor doesn’t maintain proper records or pay attention to your medical history, they could accidentally prescribe you a medication or care plan that interferes with a current condition you may have. Choose a doctor that knows you, your background, and shows genuine interest in your life.

How to Maintain a Healthy Relationship

Now that you understand how to choose the right doctor and office for your needs, let’s discuss maintaining a good, working relationship with the doctor of your choosing.

Always be Honest About Your History

Healthy-Patient-Doctor-RelationshipYour physician cannot properly treat or help you if you’re not forthcoming with your medical background and needs. It’s important to be honest with your doctor, even if it’s embarrassing or difficult. This also means bringing along a complete list of medications and surgeries so your doctor fully understands your history and what other medications they can prescribe, if needed. But honesty also means calling the office with ample notice if you need to change or cancel an appointment. This gives the office staff plenty of time to reschedule another patient in your place and make other scheduling adjustments as needed. Not giving ample notice is a sign of disrespect for your doctor and their time. It may also come with a cancellation fee, depending on the office’s policy.

Show Patience

Doctor’s offices are often extremely busy. This might result in you waiting for extended periods of time both in the waiting room and in the exam room before seeing the doctor. The office should ensure that excessive wait times do not occur. But, as the patient, you can also show a bit of patience and understanding when it comes to waiting to see the doctor. Sometimes, emergencies pop up or the patient before you require more extensive care than you’d imagine. When this happens, the doctor’s entire schedule is thrown off course and it may negatively impact your appointment.

On the other side, your time is also precious and important. The office should not leave you waiting for an extended period of time without an explanation. The office should also provide you the option of rescheduling if the appointment runs excessively over time. This isn’t fair to you however maintaining a calm demeanor will help resolve the situation much easier than if you were to have an angry outburst. Remember, you need to go to this office in the future and so, you wouldn’t want to leave a negative impression.

Maintain Professional Boundaries


This tip is for both physicians and their patients. In order to maintain a healthy working relationship, it’s not appropriate for you to become friends with your doctor outside of the office. This can easily complicate matters and lead to misunderstandings and questions or ethical and moral behaviors. Yes, you want a doctor who you trust and feeling comfortable with, but not one that you socialize with outside office hours. The physician must also feel comfortable delivering news and information to you without the fear of offending you. When personal feelings and emotions come into play, things can get complicated. If you’re friends with the physician beforehand, it may be best to keep them as a friend and find a new doctor.

Patients need to trust their doctors as they prefer dealing with honest, calm, and pleasant patients. When both parties make an effort, the patient doctor relationship can be a positive and functional one. This is the optimal situation, as it ensures you, the patient, receives the best, most thorough care possible.

Article Submitted By Community Writer

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