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Physicians: How Can You Improve Your Interpersonal Skills with Patients?

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We’ve been looking at six ways you can monitor and manage your online reputation, courtesy of Karen Zupko over at Physicians Practice. The first way was to search for your name on all ratings sites; the second was to use automation to monitor what is said about you; and the third is to complete your online profile(s) and correct errors in those profile(s).

Remember: How you are presented online by others and yourself could be a determining factor in getting your next job. We live in a PR-savvy and PR-heavy world. Everything is about image, especially now that you and I can control the image strangers and acquaintances have of us, thanks to the Wild, Wild West of social-media platforms.

If you don’t know how to use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, the various physician-related online review sites, etc., effectively, then I’m sure you work with someone who does. Seek them out. Ask them how you can make yourself look more favorable online.

The fourth way to protect your online reputation, according to Physicians Practice is to…

Self-assess your consultation and interpersonal skills with patients.

Zupko asks the following questions: “Do you sit next to patients or stand towering above them? Do you really listen or just wait for the patient to stop talking so you can impart your advice? Do you educate or just ‘tell?’”

The point here is, even though the online world is virtual, there are real people writing those reviews even when they’re anonymous. They are real people whom you’ve already encountered.

Therefore, influencing your online reputation begins with good, old-fashioned, face-to-face daily interactions.

Zupko continues: “Minor modifications to your style can reflect positively in how patients perceive the value they receive and improve the reviews they post. Ask open-ended questions. Lean toward the patient to demonstrate you are listening. And to make sure patients understand their treatment options use teach-back strategies. For example, you might say to the patient, ‘All right, Denise, when you get home tonight, what are you going to tell your husband about our conversation?’”

When you go on job interviews, one of the things potential employers will be assessing is your personality and ability to interact with others. They don’t want clinicians on staff who put patients off with how they treat them or approach their visits.

As physicians who are looking for jobs, have you ever been forced to self-assess your approach to patient interactions based on something that was posted about you online? How did this improve your relationship with patients?

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