More Than Medicine: Bedside Manners Matter

Numerous studies show a strong correlation between a positive doctor-patient relationship
Published: Sep. 15, 2023 at 12:12 PM EDT
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Denver, Colo. (Ivanhoe Newswire) - Heart attacks, car accidents, falls, cancer … the list goes on and on. Thirty-four million people will be admitted into a hospital this year. But there’s more to a patient’s care than medicines and surgeries. Beyond medical expertise and technical skills, the way doctors engage with patients has a profound impact on their healing process. Bedside manners matter.

Patch Adams knew it.

In the movie, Robin Williams portrays a doctor who recognizes the intrinsic value of connecting with his patients.

In real life, Pediatric Orthopedic Surgeon, Jaren Riley, has seen firsthand how it can impact the children he works with.

Doctor Riley says, “She was the most beautiful baby I’ve ever seen in my life. And she had scoliosis from the get-go.”

He’s talking about his patient Nellie. He has watched her grow from toddler to teen.

He says, “As we progressed through the years, she went from smiling all the time and talking to me and hugging me to all of a sudden she wouldn’t talk to me at all, and she would avoid eye contact.”

That’s when he started wearing costumes during their visits at the Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children.

He says, “The best one was the tyrannosaurus rex costume.”

Numerous studies show a strong correlation between a positive doctor-patient relationship. Research in the journal of general internal medicine reveals that patients who reported higher levels of satisfaction with their doctor are more likely to adhere to treatment plans, leading to better health outcomes.

Studies also show better doctor-patient relationships lead to reduced medical errors as communication between the two is more open.

Doctor Riley believes he gains much more than he gives.

He says, “You kind of feel like they’re the ones making your day better all day long.”

Research published in the Journal of Participatory Medicine shows that when doctors demonstrate empathy, actively involve patients in decision-making and provide emotional support, it strengthens the bond between them.