How Do You Partner with an Unengaged Patient?

Neil S. Prose, MD, Professor of Pediatrics and Dermatology, Duke University Medical Center and Andrew Peterson, MD, Professor of Surgery at Duke University Medical Center

Have trouble viewing this video? Read the transcript.

Learning Objectives: At the end of this activity, you will be able to:
  • Identify at least three things providers shouldn’t do when working with unengaged patients.
  • Identify at least three things providers should do when working with unengaged patients.

Description: More and more, health care providers are trying to partner with patients to ensure care helps meet their health goals. But what happens when the patient isn’t interested in working with you?

In this video, Dr. Andrew Peterson, a Professor of Surgery at Duke University Medical Center, demonstrates how providers can use communication skills to build partnerships with patients, based on the work of Dr. Neil Prose. This video includes two versions of the same scene, in which actors play a couple struggling with erectile dysfunction. Watch the video and reflect on the impact of a provider’s approach.

This video was produced by Firestream Media with a grant from the Duke Graduate Medical Education Innovation Fund.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What did you notice about what the provider did wrong in the first scene? What would you have done differently?
  2. Do you think the provider was justified in suggesting the couple work through their relationship issues before seeking treatment for erectile dysfunction? Why or why not?
  3. What would be a more productive way to suggest that the couple seek relationship counseling?
  4. What did you like about how the provider handled the conversation in the second scene?
  5. Why do you think the patient in this scene was reluctant to talk to the provider about erectile dysfunction? How did the provider address these barriers to treatment? What others ways might you have addressed them?
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