“Medicine is an art whose magic and creative ability have been recognized as residing in the interpersonal aspects of the patient-physician relationship.” Without reservations, the heart and art of dentistry also lie in effective doctor-patient communication. It is not a technique of information gathering but a philosophy that is guided by cooperation, respect, trust, and understanding. Ultimately, a successful therapeutic approach through shared perceptions regarding the nature of the problem, goals of treatment, and psychosocial support is essential for the successful delivery of dental care. The quintessence of consistent and effective communication in the clinical setting is the ability to listen attentively, understanding another other person’s point of view while delivering clear expectations and objectives; it is also a principle-centered approach to personal and interpersonal effectiveness. A principle-centered approach that relies on before-the-fact decisions is based on values that take responsibility rather than external factors and conditions. As a function of our decisions, our choices then become proactive, where we adhere to commitments we make to ourselves and others, causing something to happen rather than responding to it after it has happened. Sharing perceptions helps to eliminate conflict and confusion by providing clarity and direction and knowing what is important from the perspectives of both patient and doctor. This is beginning with the end in mind. To implement personal responsibility and begin with the end in mind, patients now discuss with their provider what priorities should be considered and agree on an outcome and result.
The inspiration for this blog was Steven Covey’s, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.
Bruce R. Clark, DDS, MAGD