Do Patients Like to Make Small Talk With You?

Patients prefer some friendly conversation at the start of their exam, according to Jobson Optical Research’s The Waiting Game report. Just under three quarters of respondents (74.5%) said that they think it’s nice when a doctor starts to make small talk about general topics such as their job, kids or the weather. Women (77.2%) prefer it just slightly over men (72.8%) and older respondents preferred it over younger (18 to 34: 70.7%, 55+: 78%). Apparently a little small talk can go a long way.

Be sure to make notes in the patient records about things that are important to patients such as children, pets, jobs and anniversaries. On the patient’s next visit to the office, with targeted small talk you can ask about how the new dog is making the transition now that the kids are away at college. Don’t rely on your memory, use your patient records to help keep you accurate.

Train your staff to add to the patient notes section as well. When they hear a nugget of news that is important to the patient, add it to the record to help keep the doctor informed. Don’t forget to include news such as the death of the spouse or child. Make it a habit for doctors and staff to have access to a computer when reading the paper so that quick notes can be made in the patient records.

Everything you do should be designed to make sure the patient completes your prescribed treatment plan. Showing that you care by sharing details of life that you know about the patient that are important to the patient goes a long way to achieving this goal.


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