This month I’m going to be bringing you a series of 12 mini-blogs. This will be a series of brief clinical tips, simple things that can sometimes make all the difference in achieving the correct diagnosis, the best outcome for your patient with hip pain, and confidence and contentment in your own clinical practice. There will also be free resources to say thank you for supporting my site. Thanks for reading!
Tip #1 Make sure you listen
Time is certainly an important confinement within which health professionals must work. How long do you allow for an initial assessment? 30mins? 45mins? an hour? more? Do you consciously assign a set period of time for each part of the session – 10 minutes for patient interview, 10 minutes for physical assessment, 10 minutes for treatment? At the end of the first 10 minutes, do you politely interrupt the patient and move onto the physical assessment? How much important information has been left undiscovered? This information may be critical to both your diagnosis and management success.
For patients presenting with longstanding and/or complex issues, this initial interview may take most, if not all your initial consultation time. If the patient expects that you will be providing some treatment in this initial session (as most do), failing to meet those expectations may lead to a rocky start to the relationship. During my 30 years of clinical practice, I’ve tried various strategies to balance an optimal patient interview with optimal time management. Here are the keepers: