If we work together we’ll be all set

Yesterday in “Planned patienthood” I listed tips for patients to help them make the most of a visit to the doctor. Today I was heartened to see an article about the Kaiser Permanente “Four Habits” model, which teaches doctors to do a better job of interacting with patients during a visit. If doctors do their part and patients do theirs to make doctor visits flow more smoothly, the improvements in quality, satisfaction, and cost will dwarf even the big estimates of the potential value of health care IT.

The Four Habits model is as follows:

  1. Invest in the beginning: Create rapport quickly; elicit the patient’s concerns, let the patient know what to expect
  2. Elicit the patient’s perspective: Ask for the patient’s ideas; determine patient’s specific request or goal; explore the impact on patient’s life
  3. Demonstrate empathy: Be open to the patient’s emotions; make empathetic statements; convey empathy nonverbally (pause, touch, facial expression)
  4. Invest in the end: Deliver diagnosis in terms of original concern; explain rationale for tests and treatments; summarize visits and review next steps

Source: Kaiser Permanente as seen in the Wall Street Journal (Teaching Doctors How to Interview)

September 21, 2005

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