April 4, 2014

How Important Is Emotional Intelligence?

When it comes to working in healthcare, certain skillsets necessary for physicians are more obvious than others. For instance, physicians must have an ample understanding of health, diagnosis, and appropriate patient treatment, as well as the abilities to lead, work as a team, and communicate.

But there is one irreplaceable physician skillset that has become a major topic of discussion in recent years: emotional intelligence.

Although it’s important to have a positive influence on patients, emotional intelligence is so much more than simply “putting on a happy face.”

So what exactly is emotional intelligence?

According to a HealthLeaders Media article, emotional intelligence is “about recognizing the best way to give a patient information, which can raise patient engagement levels and affect outcomes.”

The physician’s role in a patient’s plan of care and transitions, for example, is an invaluable facet of physician emotional intelligence. In fact, more and more organizations are partnering with post-acute care facilities and offering assistance in plan of care.

According to the aforementioned article, physicians should be aware of their patients “as a whole,” taking into consideration their “biological, psychological, and social well-being.”

Consider this: How a patient initially receives critical news about their health will affect how they communicate with the physician. If a patient’s experience is negative, with low emotional intelligence involved, they will be less likely to communicate thoroughly with their physician and less likely to adhere to a care and treatment plan. Alternatively, if a patient has a positive experience with their physician, with high emotional intelligence, they will be more apt to communicate, listen to treatment options and suggestions, and follow through with a plan of care.

When it comes to emotional intelligence, it’s important to remember that all patients, like all people, are different, which means that they will require different forms of communication. Some patients, for instance, might prefer to hear all treatment options, with the final decision left up to their preference. Others, however, who have a more “paternalistic/maternalistic” view of physicians, might instead turn to the physician for recommendations.

Many residency programs are now beginning to include emotional intelligence education as a method of improving the communication between physician and patient, allowing the physician to relay information in a way that is most relatable for each individual patient.

To take this a step further, Coors works to develop not only physician’s emotional intelligence, but Leadership’s as well. The ability to communicate with high emotional intelligence drastically affects the relationships between Administration and Physician Staff and Leaders. Miscommunication in these areas leads to low physician satisfaction, decreased retention, and turmoil in aligning new physicians to the organization. Through Coors’ innovative strategies and programs, we focus on building emotional intelligence to create a true administration/physician partnership that fuels the success of the organization. Technical challenges your hospital face can be overcome, not by drastically changing your people but by building emotional intelligence to nurture the technical skillset of those already in place. Contact Coors, and let us begin building your custom strategy.


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