Clinical knowledge and technical skills are essential to running a successful healthcare practice, but they aren’t enough to provide a comprehensive patient care experience. Many people have good memories of a doctor who got through to them – and they usually center as much around compassion and bedside manner as they do around the treatment.
Doctors and those who work with them need a lot of “soft skills”, which might not seem to be key on the surface but provide an essential part of the healthcare package. Collaboration is critical in healthcare, and those running a practice often have to combine medical knowledge, administration, and customer service into one. These are the most important soft skills medical workers will need in the fast-changing healthcare world.
Healthcare can be a highly technical field, and it’s a common problem that doctors fail to explain a patient’s condition and treatment plan in a manner they can understand and follow up on. There are many possible failure points when it comes to treatment – including the doctor’s initial diagnosis, as well as the outtake conversation where a receptionist may explain how to follow up.
Communication skills are critical to effective medicine, but employers often report that this is the office’s biggest weak link. Offices should focus on developing a uniform style of speaking to patients and knowing where each piece of information is coming from. The patient should also have an opportunity to ask questions before leaving.
This is the understanding of yourself and the understanding of others, and it’s been shown to be one of the most important elements in regulating emotions and mood. As many patients in a medical office will be dealing with stressful life events, it’s key that the office staff and medical personnel project calm.
Emotional intelligence and empathy, both towards patients and colleagues, go a long way toward helping offices run smoothly. This is why many offices contract with an outside agency that can teach these soft skills, as well as helping employees to fulfill or earn proper accreditation like AAPC certification requirements.
One of the most important soft skills any healthcare employee will need is the ability to work well with others. There is an intimacy to healthcare that isn’t matched by many other professions – often it will take several team members working in tandem to complete a procedure.
Even when the team members aren’t in the same room, they might still need to work together to share information and compare evidence to ensure the patient has a positive continuum of care and no critical steps are missed.
This is especially important because of how fast the healthcare industry evolves – team members will need to be able to handle change and adjust their role and working relationships in a hurry.
Every healthcare worker has their own strengths and weaknesses, and working to keep the strengths optimized and improve in the weak areas is important. Continued education and development is one of the cornerstones of the healthcare sector, as new developments in the industry happen all the time. Even top doctors need to keep up on new technology.
The doctors and medical staff who embrace change and keep themselves appraised of new opportunities for self-improvement are usually the ones who wind up taking on leadership roles in the organization. Ideally, everyone in a healthcare practice should have their own set of goals for enrichment, either short or long-term.
It can take a long time to develop a lasting patient relationship, but it doesn’t take long at all to break that trust and lose a patient. From the moment a patient enters a healthcare office, it is important that they feel they’re a safe person and trust the doctor and their staff – not just with their health, but with their personal and financial information.
A little professionalism goes a long way, since it’s one of the most important soft skills any medical worker can have. This is as important for the front desk staff as it is for the doctor or nurses, as this is the first point of contact that the patient has. A first impression is incredibly important to get right.
Soft Skills Are the Key to Success
Is your medical office well-trained in these skills? Many offices may be lacking in only one, but that can be enough to keep the team from reaching its potential. Investing in training to keep these skills fresh is one of the most important things any medical office can do.
Communication skills and emotional intelligence are key for relating to patients. Teamwork and self-development are essential when creating a positive work environment. Professionalism makes it all come together into an impressive whole.