REshape Blog

Some say it is an effective way to have patients to tell their story better, but in my view interrupting them over and over again is not only rude, but also harmful as Beckman en Frankel proved back in ’84. The case seemed to be that bad that the average physician interrupted his patient within […]

Lucien Engelen: Are you listening doctor ?

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Some say it is an effective way to have patients to tell their story better, but in my view interrupting them over and over again is not only rude, but also harmful as Beckman en Frankel proved back in ’84. The case seemed to be that bad that the average physician interrupted his patient within the first 18 seconds after they’ve started to talk.

More recent research showed even worse metrics whereas it only took most cases only 12 seconds. All of this while we know that an average patient needs about 2-3 minutes to completely tel their story.

Sure, i can imagine how it is to hear all day over and over again all those stories, but 12 seconds, really ?

When we first came across this five years ago i created a special role in my REshape team and named it the Chief Listening Officer. One of the reasons for that was that a lot of professionals stated they know perfectly well what their patients wanted and were thinking. During our projects however we found this to be untrue (and i have a strong tendency for understatements;-)

She (Corine Jansen) at that moment and time was working for a county broadcast network, talking to citizens on what théy would love to see on the network, often with a gap between what the network management wanted or thought. In her i sensed the spirit, drive and gentleness needed for a role to disrupt that kind of thinking, and for the next five years she’s created a new approach to get the patients-perspective out in the open.

Not having a formal relationship in terms of treatment, not being a doctor nor a nurse but thoroughly experienced in informal care and at our hospital being thought on how we deliver care, she brought ‘home’ great insights that really added patients-view. In all of our projects nowadays we mould this ‘listening-phase’ into the start, so not at the end wrapping up the project but with this our patients are included from the very moment we kickstart it.

If you’d like to learn more on listening skills for healthcare you could attend the first European Listening and Healthcare Conference where experienced (and certified) listening professionals share their knowledge and skills.

Many (professionals) think they do have listening-skills bit have as it turns out hearing skills, and but is a different cup of tea.

Image credit : Ester Wieringa / Flickr Creative Commons.