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Guidance Offered for Managing Conflict With Patients

Good communication is crucial for managing encounters when denying a patient request

MONDAY, April 20, 2015 (HealthDay News) — Good communication is key to managing conflict with patients, according to an article published April 1 in Medical Economics.

The article discusses guidelines for how to diffuse a situation that looks likely to lead toward conflict. The guidelines include addressing the patient respectfully; being empathetic and compassionate, while emphasizing the importance of evidence-based guidelines; and focusing on supporting and informing the patient.

Many patients who express anger or frustration at a request being denied just want a thorough explanation; at times, the physician will need to understand the underlying issue behind their request, which can be time consuming. Changes in insurance can help physicians when denying an excessive request for tests. Staff should be trained to be patient when dealing with patients, and offered pep talks or help when morale seems to be flagging.

“Rarely, some patients can get so upset with the physician that they may be unable to continue the conversation in a civil manner. In those instances, [the physician should] offer to go to see the next patient, giving the distraught patient a few moments to gather his or her thoughts before resuming the visit,” according to the article.

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