Most clinicians are now paid based on the actions of patients, not themselves.
Congratulations, you’re no longer practicing the art of medicine, you’re in the business of influence.
It’s ironic. The electronic health record was introduced to ease the collection and analysis of patient care data. Improved outcomes through meeting metrics.
But at the same time, clinician behaviors resulting from the introduction of the EHR—poor eye-contact, rushed visits, clinician-centered histories, dramatically impair the use of the “tools of persuasion”—and dramatically reduce your ability to impact your patient’s behaviors.
It’s like being paid to build a house, but with one hand tied behind your back—and without anybody ever teaching you how to use a hammer.
Well, I can’t untie your hand but I do have a tool for your toolbox.
The research on this is extensive, crystal clear and compelling.
- Be Pleasant.
- Demonstrate engagement.
Look at your patient in the eye when you greet them, shake their hand—and smile.
Every. Single. Time.
It will set the tone for the whole visit.
And make your patient more open to your influence.
There is an enormous body of very strong, peer-reviewed research to support this conclusion. Sales professionals, waitresses, even journalists use it every day. Look for it and you will see
And it’s not a midwest thing, or a southern thing. The data is consistent across all regions of the United States.
Smiling is an obvious, easy, and surprisingly powerful tool of influence and compliance.
It’s not about submission or manipulation.
It’s about succeeding in accomplishing what you’re being paid to do.
Don’t like it? Find another way of practicing medicine.
Otherwise, pick up your tools with your one free hand and go build that house.
And I’ll keep passing you the most effective tools possible.
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