DOCTORS’ SOFT SKILLS AND PATIENT SATISFACTION
- Posted by: Najihah Anuar
- Category: Healthcare Profession
‘Patients don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.’ (Dr Omer Reed).
‘Patients don’t remember doctor’s prescription, but their communication’ (Prachi Kerkar)
A wise physician said, “The best medicine for humans is care and love.” The patient asked, “What if it doesn’t work?”. The physician smiled and replied, “Increase the dose.”
The doctor’s soft skills are crucial in dealing with the needs of the patients. Many problems that hospitals face, such as misdiagnosis, patient complaints, increased mistakes, increased costs, prescribing unnecessary drugs, and wasting patients’ time and money, maybe the result of doctors’ poor soft skills. Improving a doctor’s soft skills may improve patient satisfaction because it is still a key factor in determining healthcare quality.
Soft skills, which are skills that are applicable to all professions, are also known as power skills, common skills, or core skills. The report from OECD in the “Future of Education and Skill 2030’ published in 2019 highlighted the importance of soft skills in education, which remain change in the labor market and are required by future workers to succeed. Among the top 10 most in-demand soft skills, communication skills are the most demanded soft skills that employers are looking for in their employees.
Effective communication is the ability of the physician to communicate effectively with his patients and is referred to as ‘the heart and art of medication.’ According to patient statements, the friendly communication of doctors is one of the most important sources of mental and spiritual support (Ha et al., 2010). Successful communication is far more than just sharing information, it is an understanding of the feelings behind the information. It helps doctors understand better patients’ needs and situations, avoid conflicts, and have better decision-making. Therefore, the need to improve the way doctors communicate nowadays becomes one of the priorities.
There is a great shift in communication in the 21st century with global technology advancement from one-way communication via radio and television to interactive social media platforms. Global technology affected the way how each generation communicates. A different generation has different opinions, skills, values, attitudes, and beliefs. Therefore, the need to bridge these communication gaps is also another priority in healthcare service.
Communication repair is an important mechanism for building shared understanding in doctor–patient communication and contributes to better therapeutic relationships and treatment adherence (McCabe et al., 2018). We strongly hope this study has the potential contribution to improve patient adherence, reduce complaints, and increase satisfaction, as well as provide better quality treatment and improved communication between health care providers and patients. If communication between patient and clinician is improved in terms of healthcare deliveries, it will lead to patient satisfaction as an important avenue for the impact of hospital brand image on patient loyalty.
Ha, J. F., & Longnecker, N. (2010). Doctor-patient communication: a review. Ochsner Journal, 10(1), 38-43.
McCabe, R., & Healey, P. G. (2018). Miscommunication in doctor–patient communication. Topics in cognitive science, 10(2), 409-424.
Dr Zurimah Zamhuri
Najihah Mohamad Anuar