The world is still searching for a cure for the Virus
In the meantime, here’s the recommended Rx for physicians in the age of Covid.
As the continuation of Covid-related restrictions finds more and more businesses turning to tele-communicating, suddenly employees in all industries are turning into untrained broadcasters. Strong virtual interaction skills are now the “new necessity,” and perhaps nowhere are these more vitally important than in the field of medicine.
Telemedicine isn’t just an evolutionary product of the virus; it’s long been in the works and is no doubt here to stay. This presents a unique challenge for physicians who may already struggle with their “bedside manner:” how to exhibit caring, compassion and warmth through the coldness and distance of a computer screen.
As the owner of a highly-regarded media training company, I’ve been coaching experts in a wide range of fields for the past decade, including several top level physicians. They come looking for assistance in shooting their waiting room videos, or perhaps tutorials. What they leave with is an awakening of their bedside manner – or more precisely, their lack of it – and a new approach with patients going forward.
My experience has shown that those who work hard for their professional titles, take them very seriously, and as a result, they have learned to be serious in their demeanor. It’s not necessary, and can actually work against them. We see their titles; we know they are smart. We know they are accomplished. What we don’t know is that they are likable and relatable.
This is the key to being successful as a TV personality. This the key to being successful on any video platform. Why does it matter? It’s simple. Likability and relatability translate into trust.
You may be thinking, well, a person is either likable and relatable not. It can’t be manufactured. This is only true to a point. Most of the professionals I’ve worked with have a great sense of humor, are friendly and kind – but when in the office, they tuck away those traits and become all business.
There are techniques for increasing the perception of likability and relatability. Environment. Colors. Showing personality. Sharing.
It’s been said that I should reach out to insurance companies to have them enlist my services as required training in medical schools. Imagine what would happen if doctors learned these techniques from the start! The number of malpractice suits would likely drop dramatically. It’s much harder to bring legal action against someone you like than someone you don’t.
I can attest from my own telemedicine experience that doctors need to seriously up their game if they want to keep their patients. An awkward PA stumbling through an attempt at a telemedicine examination was completely worthless; still, I was charged the same as an actual in-person visit. After that experience, I switched doctors, despite having been a patient of their practice for years.
Virtual communication is going to require more effort. Physicians tend to make great students, they learn quickly. A little bit of training results in small adjustments, that can make a big difference and now’s the time to go back to school.
Let’s face it, they’ve been examined, and they have a condition that will clear up if they follow the recommended treatment: a prescription for an injection of warmth.