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The significance of delivering positive patient experiences is something most healthcare providers understand. Not only can a patient’s experience affect reimbursement rates, it can also make or break a medical practice in terms of growth. Now recent study findings suggest that the patient-provider relationship can have a significant impact on healthcare outcomes.

The study analyzed the care of patients with health conditions such as diabetes and hypertension. It examined the impact that certain relationship-based techniques had on their health. The study found that by providing more attentive care by way of empathy, the patient’s overall health including both emotional and physical wellbeing, improved. These findings have a profound impact on the evolution of healthcare delivery. Improving the patient experience is not only important for medical practice growth and positive cash flow; it improves the patient’s health.

Patients seek empathy from their providers. They want to know that their doctor understands their concerns and apprehensions. When a patient is more comfortable with their healthcare provider, they are typically more at ease asking important questions about their health. This enables patients to become more active and engaged in their healthcare planning. They are also more likely to follow the medical instructions provided by their doctor.

The challenge providers have, however, is time. In the mad rush to examine, diagnose and treat patients, there often isn’t enough time for quality dialogue. Many times doctors become so wrapped up in managing their schedule that their schedule ends up managing them and the patient experience ends up suffering.

Thankfully, empathy is something that providers can learn. Training programs, such as Massachusetts General Hospital’s, Empathetics, are helping providers hone their ability to detect and manage the emotional states of patients.

By taking the time to connect with patients through improved communication and understanding, providers will discover that their patients are healthier, both physically and mentally. They will also find their patients to be more satisfied as a whole with the level of care they receive and more loyal to the practice. Over time, the changes made in the quality of care provided to patients will result in substantial growth for the practice, which is the ultimate goal of any business.