Many Patients Say Their Doctors Lack Compassion

November 5, 2019
MHE Staff
MHE Staff

Changing the way healthcare providers interact with patients and families can affect a hospital’s bottom line.

A new survey developed by The Orsini Way exploring how patients describe their interactions with doctors and nurses, found that 71% of respondents say they experienced a lack of compassion when speaking with a medical professional, and 73% said they always or often feel rushed by their doctor.

The survey also found that patients are more than twice as likely to stay loyal to a particular hospital because they have a good connection with the nurses and doctors on staff, as opposed to the hospital’s reputation. These stats add further credence to a Deloitte study that found hospitals with better patient-reported experiences perform better financially. 

“It only takes one interaction to change someone’s life, and it can be anything from a routine visit with a doctor to the delivery of tragic news to a family. Every interaction counts,” says Anthony Orsini, DO, practicing neonatologist and the founder of The Orsini Way, a communication training company dedicated to teaching healthcare professionals a new way to communicate for improved outcomes and patient satisfaction.

Here are other significant findings of the study:

• 63% of respondents said they have left a doctor’s office without having their questions thoroughly answered;
• 47% of respondents said they have had a poor interaction with a medical professional that resulted in them not returning to that hospital or emergency department; and
• 39% of respondents believe physicians are generally not effective communicators.

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According to the survey, only 65% of patients were satisfied or very satisfied with their interaction with the doctor the last time they visited a hospital or emergency department. In general, patients are receptive to quality care, but negative interactions can permanently damage their perception, Orsini says.

“The overwhelming majority of physicians are compassionate by nature. It is conveying that compassion, however, that we often struggle with,” Orsini says. “As doctors, we are taught from the beginning to set our emotions aside, but the results of this survey make it very clear that patients have a true desire to connect with their physicians and feel their compassion.

“Patients need to feel seen and heard, and they need to know they’re more than just a number. Making simple, changes to the way physicians and nurses communicate with their patients can dramatically impact a hospital’s culture and change patient engagement for the better,” he adds.

The Orsini Way provides healthcare professionals with communication techniques that change the way healthcare providers interact with patients and families, including topics such as improving the overall patient experience, breaking bad news, professional burnout, and conflict resolution.

The communication methods involve experiential role-playing via professional actors, interactive workshops, and a digital learning experience to reinforce adherence and build positive habits. Orsini has trained thousands of hospital professionals using these innovative methods. To learn more about the program, visit https://theorsiniway.com/