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.

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