Researchers at the University of Michigan interviewed 18 doctors and 36 patients. They then examined video recordings of routine checkups. The research team found that, from the patient’s perspective, a doctor’s behavior was important. The patient-doctor relationship changed, for example, if a doctor acted hurried, was able to put a patient at ease, listened to them, or made eye contact.
On the other side of the fence, doctors took into account a patient’s body language. Doctors also noticed a patient’s ability to make eye contact, their physical appearance, and tone of voice and used these physical cues to make medical decisions.
According to the researchers, doctors also considered how many examinations a patient had when making medical decisions. They looked for clues that a patient might be depressed. They also used physical cues to determine if a patient was withholding information or health concerns.
The researchers concluded that doctors’ and patients’ judgments in the examining room are complicated and take into account many subtle, unspoken clues. The researchers would like to use this information to improve medical decision making and doctor-patient interaction.
Take this health advice: both doctors and patients identify clues involving the behavior or appearance of the other, but they may not always be aware that these clues color their judgments and assessments. Follow these five tips to help you develop a good rapport with your doctor:
1. Learn to be precise.
2. Use verbal communication.
3. Voice health concerns instead of bottling them up.
4. Donât make quick judgments about your doctor. Develop the relationship.
5. Be self-aware about your own health. It will help your doctor in assessing your symptoms and choosing the best course of treatment.