Mend Physical Therapy Blog and Injury Information

Impact of Communication on Patient Outcomes

October 19, 2015

communication-listening-healthcare-physical therapy

William Osler, M.D., considered by many to be the father of modern medicine once said “listen to the patient he is telling you the diagnosis”.  Others in the medical field have similar quotes including “listen to the patient long enough and they will tell you the diagnosis, listen longer and they will tell you the treatment”.  Hampton et al. confirmed Osler’s thoughts by reporting up to 83% of medical diagnoses are made through the subjective history alone (BMJ, 1975).  Indeed, our prior blog post reports on the power of the subjective history to rule out non musculoskeletal sources of pain.  This interview with the patient is a crucial component of any medical encounter and allows the clinician to begin their initial hypothesis generation on what brings the patient into their office.  Unfortunately, on average patients are interrupted 18 seconds into their opening statement, but given the chance to talk they finish their statement in under 3 minutes (Beckman, H. Ann Int Med. 1984).

One of the main reasons we started Mend was to create a one on one environment where our clinicians have 60 minutes of uninterrupted time with each patient at each visit.  This gives the clinician ample time to conduct a thorough history focused on a patient’s individual complaints and symptoms.  Starting the initial evaluation with this line of questioning focuses our Physical Therapy examination and treatment.  We find the simple art of listening has helped accelerate our patient’s outcomes in fewer visits by providing optimal treatments at each Physical Therapy session.  To experience the difference, contact the experts at Mend.