By Dr. Trina E. Dorrah http://www.drtrinadorrah.com
S = Sit down
A = Avoid medical lingo
T = Teach back
S = Summarize
There are numerous patient experience improvement tips that you can share with your doctors. The problem is, no one can remember that many tips at once. If you want to help your doctors improve the patient experience, less is more. Focus on a few hi-yield tips, and emphasize them frequently.
SATS can help
Encouraging your doctors to “Check the SATS” is one easy way to help your doctors improve the patient experience. It’s practical, catchy, and doable. When done consistently, these 4 tips will go a long way towards helping your doctors focus on behaviors that truly make a difference to their patients.
S = Sit down; encourage your docs to sit at some point during each patient encounter. This helps your doctor appear more relaxed and accessible. It also increases your patients’ perception of time spent with the doctor.
A = Avoid medical lingo; remind your doctors to explain using clear and simple language. Encourage them to avoid medical terminology unless followed by an explanation. As a physician, I can tell you that we are so used to speaking in medical terminology that we often do not recognize when we do it.
T = Teach back; ask your doctors to utilize the teach-back method to improve their patients’ understanding. The doctor explains the concept to the patient, and the patient explains it back in his or her own words. Your doctor then has the opportunity to clear up any confusion and re-teach as needed.
S = Summarize; your doctors can summarize at various times. After the patient tells his or her story, encourage your doctor to summarize to ensure he or she heard correctly. Your doctor can also use this technique to summarize the diagnoses and treatment plan at the end of the visit.
Meet with your doctors now and encourage them to “Check the SATS”. We are all working to improve the patient experience. Providing your doctors with practical tools such as SATSis one way to partner with them to improve your patient experience. In the end, patients want to be listened to, treated with courtesy and respect, receive clear explanations, and have enough time with their doctor. Having your doctors “Check the SATS” for each patient accomplishes this goal.