A good relationship between a patient and his or her physician is the cornerstone of superb medical care. That relationship is important when you know the doctor well. It may be even more important when you don’t, say when you are in the hospital.
Growing competition for new customers is inspiring American hospitals to focus on providing a more positive patient experience — and hospitals expect their doctors to do their part.
We wanted to know what defines great physicians in the hospital setting (sometimes called attending physicians), both in terms of their interactions with patients and how they teach the next generation of doctors — residents and medical students — as they go about their hospital rounds.
To do this, we identified 12 doctors from around the US who are recognized as outstanding teacher-physicians. We scrutinized their bedside behavior, did semi-structured interviews with them, and talked with current and former members of their hospital rounding teams.
What we learned, in a nutshell, is that the way these doctors work is uniformly at odds with the familiar perception of the hospital physician as rushed and impersonal.