The increased chatter we’re all hearing around engaging patients (AKA: “How in the world can I get this patient to take control of their own care — lose weight,  stay on their medication, etc.?”) got me thinking: “Where does patient engagement really begin?  And are there simple techniques we can apply in the exam room to make this go better?”

“In dealing with patients, a simple acknowledgment of their effort goes a long way towards building partnership and trust.” — Helane Fronek MD, FACP, FACPh

To help answer these questions, I reached out to Dr. Fronek, an internal medicine physician, venous disease specialist and Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine at UC-San Diego, known for her expertise on the subject of patient communication.  Our conversation led me to reflect… “How often do I actually acknowledge patients for the work they do in caring for themselves?” As physicians, we often rely on the  “do more of this and less of that…” form of communication, but are there techniques that are more effective at driving patient involvement? Take a listen to my conversation with Dr. Fronek and you’ll get some take home tools that not only help you engage patients, but help your clinical team too.