See the latest coronavirus and vaccine informationLearn about the Lancaster General Hospital Emergency Department expansion and related traffic changes.

Rodney E. Brenneman, M.D.

From Rodney E. Brenneman, M.D., Orthopedic Associates of Lancaster
Successful provider-patient communication is key to a positive patient experience. We asked Rodney E. Brenneman, M.D., of Orthopedic Associates of Lancaster, to share some patient communication strategies that work for him.

I would not say that I am the best communicator, but here are a few principles that I try to keep in mind as I interact with my patients:

  • Maintain eye contact with the patient for the majority of the visit, and to a lesser degree with the family, friends or others in the room.  This comes from a negative experience with one of my attendings in residency, who would primarily make eye contact with the family members and often make very little direct eye contact with the patient. 

  • Allow the patient to speak first and fully express their understanding of the problem or situation.  While it is sometimes torture to not interrupt and correct the patient, I try to give them the floor before I take over control of the visit.

  • Touch the patient.  Again, one of my attendings in residency would routinely go through a whole office visit without physically touching the patient.  Personal touch is such a powerful vehicle to build trust and establish connection.

  • Avoid medical jargon.  I use very simple lay terms unless I know that the patient is also a medical professional.   It is much better to be very simple and clear than have a patient walk out having understood little to nothing of what you just threw at them.

  • Verify that they understood before leaving.  I usually ask, “Does that make sense?” before ending the visit.  If something isn’t clear, I can clarify more easily in the moment than trying to answer telephone questions through my secretary the next day.

Read more about Dr. Brenneman’s passion for music – and riding a unicycle.

Click here to share your own tips for effective patient communication.

Share This Page: