First Impressions: How To Make Patients Trust You In Less Than 60 Seconds

Earning a patient's trust is crucial to both your success and his or her overall health. Studies show people develop their first impressions within seconds, so it's in your best interest to develop a strategy that earns your patients' trust quickly. Follow these simple steps to create a lasting relationship.

Anticipate the questions — and the answers

Knowing as much about the patient before he or she comes in will help you both feel more comfortable during the appointment. It'll help you understand your patient's concerns, and it'll put him or her at ease to know you've done your homework. Go over the patient's chart, medical history and notes right before the appointment to keep the information fresh in your mind.

Remember it's a dialogue, not a monologue

One recent survey found that patients said the most important factor that makes a high-quality doctor is listening and attentiveness. Don't do all the talking. Letting the patient ask questions, voice his or her concern and tell you about themselves in their own words iis an easy and quick way to earn their trust. Start with a brief and friendly introduction on your part, and then transition into letting the patient speak with you before diving into an appointment.

Look the part

It might sound superficial, but appearance does play a role in making a first impression. Dressing professionally will help send a message of competence and professionalism before you even open your mouth. Shops for lab coats for women and lab coats for men that add a comfortable, and professional, touch to any medical professional's outfit. And clothing aside, always do a quick mirror check after your lunch break. Nothing is more distracting than that one piece of food stuck between your front teeth.

Make eye contact

As you interact with patients, maintain an appropriate amount of eye contact. Too little can make someone think you're not being honest, and too intense of eye contact is just off-putting. Speak to your patients as you would any other medical professional and you'll earn their trust in no time at all.

Be quick, but attentive

Let's be honest, no one likes to spend more time in a medical office or a hospital than is absolutely necessary. To earn a patient's trust, show them you respect their time. Getting patients in and out with the best care possible is the surest way to ensure they come back — and that they tell their friends about your practice.

Take a seat, literally

There's something unnerving about talking to someone whose standing while you're seated. If your patient is sitting down, make sure you grab a seat as well. Speaking with them on the same physical level will calm them and help see you as a trustworthy medical professional.

Be transparent

Be honest with your patients. If you need to look something up or ask for a reminder about their medical history, tell them. Be as transparent as possible without violating HIPAA rules and your patients will understand that you're working with them, not against them.

A little empathy goes a long way

Your job is not always the easiest, especially when it comes to discussing medical test results or treatment options with patients. Practicing empathy while interacting with them will help improve your stance as a medical professional, and will encourage your patients to take your recommendations seriously. Try and place yourself in their shoes whenever possible: It'll help you earn their trust and show them you truly care.

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