Posted November 17, 2014

AIDET® in the Medical Practice: More Important than Ever

By Richard Rubin, MD, MBA, CPHQ

Studer Group’s Five Fundamentals of Communication is AIDET®, an acronym that stands for Acknowledge, Introduce, Duration, Explanation and Thank You. Those who utilize AIDET consistently find it to be a tremendously valuable tool for organizing patient communication and providing patients with the information and caring relationship that they want and need.

The keys to effective patient and customer communication include:

  • A


    Greet the patient by name. Make eye contact, smile, and acknowledge family or friends in the room.
  • I


    Introduce yourself with your name, skill set, professional certification, and experience.
  • D


    Give an accurate time expectation for tests, physician arrival, and identify next steps. When this is not possible, give a time in which you will update the patient on progress.
  • E


    Explain step-by-step what to expect next, answer questions, and let the patient know how to contact you, such as a nurse call button.
  • T

    Thank You:

    Thank the patient and/or family. You might express gratitude to them for choosing your hospital or for their communication and cooperation. Thank family members for being there to support the patient.

Why is AIDET important “now more than ever?” We frequently hear that there is “no time” for AIDET given the increasing complexity of patients, the perceived decrease in the amount of time of an office visit, and a variety of other challenges. On the contrary, incorporating AIDET® into conversation does not require additional time, rather slight modifications during interactions. In fact, AIDET® is proven to save providers time because patients are well informed and better understand their plan of care.

I would propose that the increasing complexity and pace of medicine, as well as the increasing transparency of patient experience results makes the need for AIDET in the medical practice world even more critical.

Consider these reasons for using AIDET during medical practice encounters:

  • It is what patients want. There have been many studies about what patients want in a healthcare encounter. A survey of patients in 2013 showed that patients were “…more likely to complain about a healthcare provider’s indifference, bedside manner or customer service than about his or her medical skills”1. The components of AIDET allow the clinician to address these concerns in a systematic, evidence-based way. The “A” and “I” demonstrate care and concern. The “D” and the “E” are about the communication of medical information, and the “T” concludes the visit with a demonstration of gratitude and a desire to help. 
  • It is what patients need. Understanding promotes treatment adherence. Adherence is essential for healing and maintenance of health. Knowing the “why”, as well as having an empathetic, caring provider makes it more likely that the patients will check their blood sugar, weigh themselves, and do many of the other critical tasks that may not be convenient. In general, patients that trust and know why are more likely to take care of themselves. They need a trusting, caring relationship, even more so as medicine becomes more complex and the pace increases.
  • It is not just about the patient. Burnout among healthcare providers is an epidemic. Surveys generally mention the loss of connection with the patient as one of the causes. AIDET allows the provider to have a more human, authentic encounter with the patient. The human relationship aspect of the encounter is embedded in the process and often brings more satisfaction to the practice of medicine. We, as providers, need this human connection to be satisfied with our work.

AIDET does not need to be robotic, scripted or time-consuming. Include the five components in your encounters, but make it your own. Those who have done so report better relationships with their patients, adherence to recommendations, and greater fulfillment with their work.

1. “Top Complaints Posted on Doc Rating Websites”  www.medscape.com/viewarticle/820809

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