When patients feel fear, embarrassment or resistance at the doctor’s office, their emotions can impede the conversations that lead to better health. But for providers, untangling patient motivations during the visit can use up valuable time. To help remove the barriers blocking open communication, clinics can give patients aids to help promote communication.
When placed in the waiting room, a deck of cards printed with emotional prompts gives patients an opportunity to collect their thoughts before seeing a physician.
Each card’s prompt falls within a certain theme, like frustration, relief, or nervousness. The cards that resonate with the patient should be brought into the exam room for discussion.
The benefits of this strategy are three-fold. First, the patient is given the space and the time to consider their feelings without prodding from a care provider. Because the cards are provided by the clinic, they also give the patient official permission to talk openly about implicit concerns. And lastly, the cards offer a different mode of interaction that helps draw out common obstacles to better care.