Effective communication with talkative patients: 10 tips
Consultations with talkative patients present a challenge to doctors. It is difficult to gather all the necessary information within the available time, without damaging the doctor-patient relationship.
Based on the listed existing literature and doctors’ experiences, we present ten tips for gathering information from talkative patients in an effective manner whilst maintaining a good therapeutic alliance.
In consultations with talkative patients, it is important to explore the cause of patients’ talkativeness and to adapt one’s communication approach accordingly.
Familiar communication strategies such as ‘summarizing’ can still be applied. When taking this route, a more directive communication approach – e.g. by means of a ‘closed-ended summary’ – can prevent the patient interrupting the doctor or departing from his subject.
There are strategies aimed at avoiding a damaging effect to the doctor-patient relationship when applying this approach: don’t be overly directive, make the patient co-responsible for efficient time management in the consultation, and make use of empathic interrupting and humour.
Conflict of interest and financial support: none declared.