This exercise helps the team see what the patient sees and helps us move from a show and tell perspective into collaborative care. When we seek the perspective of the patient we move from a model of needs-based care to relationship-based patient-centered care. Many of us jump right into diagnosis before we really understand what the patient wants from us based on their values, beliefs, desires and what they can afford. Understanding and listening to the patient’s concerns helps us build relationships and trust while helping them feel heard and seen which limits our need for a tell and sell perspective.
Pair up in teams and take turns being a patient and a clinician. Allow 5 minutes for each team member. Give the “patient” the mirror and instead of telling them about the oral health needs, have the clinician listen and ask only open-ended questions regarding their concerns. What do you see? What do you notice about your bite? Smile? Do not diagnose! Listen to understand. Listen to build trust. Listen to Co-discover opportunities that will have your patients engaged and taking ownership of their health and asking for care instead of your team having to sell care.
Did the patient and team member see the same things? Did the team member learn something of value about the patient? As a patient, what feelings transpired?
Everybody deserves to be heard and seen, practice today for opportunities tomorrow!
Exercise # 57: Give a patient a mirror and have the patient describe what they see.