Mindfulness is a Winner
Patient satisfaction continues to remain the focus of hospital and government leaders. Most physicians want to provide the best patient experience however; they are plagued with administrative activities that contribute organizational goals. Every week a new change is placed into the hospital environment to improve quality, safety, and financial measures. During shadowing and coaching sessions, physicians are expressing that they often feel distracted as they try to implement the changes for the week. I discovered that physicians who practice mindfulness achieved double-digit gains in patient satisfaction survey results. Mindfulness is giving complete attention to the person or task in a given situation. Mindfulness requires the physician to remain attentive to the moment and let go of distractions of any discussions or activities that occurred prior to entering the patient’s’ room and avoid thinking about the administrative actives that sill need to be completed. The following are five evidence-based mindfulness practices that can lead to improved physician communication scores when interacting with patients and their families.
- Create a distraction protocol.
- Devote time and attention to the patient by observing and listening without judgment.
- Avoid multitasking and rapidly shifting attention between activities.
- Take a moment to prepare for the next patient.
- Spend time releasing stress and stretching
In later posts, I will discuss each of the above individually
Physicians practicing mindfulness during patient care interactions have greater awareness of moving from moment-to moment, with nonjudgmental awareness and without multi-tasking. Adding mindfulness to a physician practice will create an environment where the patient can sense compassion, caring and feel that physician understands and addressed their health concerns. In additions, physician creating a distraction protocol can increase the time and space to be mindful while focusing on quality, safety, and enhance the physician-patient relationship. Physicians who practice mindfulness with their patients often improve teamwork as they expand mindfulness into other activities.