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The Beryl Institute News: In the News

3 ways to pay attention to patients that have even more impact than empathy

Wednesday, February 28, 2018  
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What does it mean to be truly “seen” by a healthcare provider? To me, it means a clinician treats me like a unique individual, with feelings, experiences and a life outside the walls of a hospital or exam room. Some people may think this sounds touchy-feely, but it’s a safety issue at the end of the day. Misdiagnosis, medication errors and inappropriate treatment are much more likely to occur when patients and providers don’t communicate effectively.

There’s a lot of work going on right now around empathy training and encouraging providers to connect with patients on an emotional level. Based on my own professional healthcare experience, I think it’s unrealistic to expect my healthcare providers to feel what I feel. Some people can do it, and some people can’t. Either way, I think it’s an unrealistic ask.

I believe in treating patients with dignity and respect, and showing kindness in the face of suffering. But I think we should get away from the language of emotionality and focus more on behavior. In the movie "Lady Bird," one of the characters says, “Don’t you think maybe they are the same thing? Love and attention?”

> Read the full article in Fierce Healthcare


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