Every patient encounter is a negotiation. I was reminded of this mantra during today’s afternoon session on negotiations. It is easy to forget that negotiation does not mean two opposing parties each attempting to secure the one prize. It is instead a mutual agreement that involves compromise and satisfaction on both ends. Every patient encounter is a negotiation from a follow up schedule to medications to lifestyle changes. In order to be successful, providers need to be skilled negotiators. Prescribing eight medications may theoretically help with a patient’s CHF, but if a frustrated patient does not take any of the medications it is useless. Ultimately, a provider must negotiate with a patient to create a care plan that best fits with a patient’s condition, background, and willingness. Being persuasive requires building trust and tapping into emotions in addition to a logical approach.
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