Across the country, patients sit in medical providers’ offices, waiting anxiously. They bring to their brief appointments their life stories, cultural contexts, anxieties, responsibilities and challenges. As they sit in small rooms sharing their experiences, patients want to know that their medical providers care, even if their medical conditions aren’t as serious as they fear they might be. To be effective, medical providers need to understand and relate to every single patient they see, which is often nearly 20 patients per day. In other words, bedside manner matters. Providers with an excellent bedside manner treat their patients well; they listen and are kind, understanding, patient and empathetic. According to a recent study, patients whose medical providers interacted positively with them had better outcomes in the areas of obesity, diabetes, asthma, heart health and osteoarthritis. Researchers have also found that patients are more likely to adhere to treatment plans when their medical providers are compassionate and patient-focused. In addition, studies have found that, when physicians treat patients with empathy, it helps not only the patients, but also the medical providers themselves, who report decreased burnout and an increased sense of well-being. Incidents of malpractice also decrease, thus alleviating physician stress. That happens because a patient is more likely to share information that might impact the treatment plan when she feels comfortable and valued. A medical provider with a good bedside manner will walk into a room and focus completely on the patient. He makes eye contact and engages the patient in conversation in a kind, friendly way. The medical provider also expresses to the patient that he feels empathy; the provider wants to hear the patient’s story and is willing to understand her perspective. These qualities distinguish an outstanding doctor from one who is merely competent.
For the fifth year in a row, OurHealth Richmond is pleased to present the awards for local medical providers with the best bedside manner. While other awards recognize medical providers for their knowledge and competence, the Best Bedside Manner Awards are unique because they ask members of the public—not other medical providers—to share their input about how doctors relate to patients. Polling for the Best Bedside Manner Awards took place in May, and over 35,000 local people voted for medical providers in over 50 medical specialties. Because of the value that patients place on medical providers’ compassion and care, the number of people voting for these awards has increased by double digit percentages each year. For many people, meeting with a doctor can be stressful and overwhelming. Thankfully, so many of our community’s medical professionals recognize that challenge and walk into the room with a warm smile and the willingness to hear their patients’ stories. While the region lays claim to many medical providers who deliver excellent care, those who receive the Best Bedside Manner Awards have developed exceptional interpersonal skills and deserve to be recognized for this.
Please join us in congratulating this year’s 5th Annual Best Bedside Manner Award winners. The Voting Process: During the month of May 2017, the Best Bedside Manner Awards Voting Form was available on OurHealth’s website, www.ourhealthrichmond.com. The form consisted of over 40 medical specialties (with definitions of each specialty) in which the public could submit the first and last names of local medical providers by the applicable specialty. If you have any questions, please contact Stephen McClintic Jr., publisher of OurHealth, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 540.387.6482.
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