By Dr. Trina E. Dorrah

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.

SATS explained

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.

Next steps

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.


06/09/2016 6:28am

I feel better prepared already. These tips were really impacting and on essayontime, I read more than a few articles about doctors who blabbered on and on without having the patient realize what they were saying.


I will meet with my doctors soon!


Being a person who delivers service, it really is great if like in this article, if we can find a simple way that can help us make a difference for our patients or customers. We really do must consider also the welfare of our patients and not just say or do everything that we want to. I really am amazed when a doctor applies this SATS, or have their own way on how they can make the patient's experience a little better.As a professional we really do need to find a way in which we can be more effective and efficient.

08/03/2016 2:19am

Yeah, I agree. It's very important indeed. Nice post.


Thanks for sharing ....

03/27/2017 7:58am

Thanks for sharing....


A good piece of content keep it up


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09/15/2017 5:54am

Doctor`s treated the patient with courtesy and respect, receive clear explanations, and have enough time with their patients.


From your blog, I can learn some new knowledge, I like the valuable information you provide in your articles.

10/30/2017 7:35am

This is really an informative and awesome blog to see, thanks for sharing such a terrific blog.

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A piece of good information, thanks for sharing.

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If every doctor read your advice this would help greatly improve the relationship between doctors and patients.


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    Trina E. Dorrah, MD, MPH, is a board-certified internal medicine physician who practices at Baylor Scott & White Health in Round Rock, TX. In addition to her clinical work, Dr. Dorrah is the medical director of quality and the physician champion for the patient experience. Dr. Dorrah is passionate about improving the patient experience and she loves to share her expertise with others. 

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