Webside Manner – My Virtual Doctor

Webside Manner

by Adam Nadler

When you go to the doctor, it is important to feel comfortable. Patients have bad experiences with doctors who are cold, withholding, and surly. Poor bedside manner is one of the top patient complaints.

Patients are at their most vulnerable when receiving medical care and it is important for doctors to respect that and act accordingly. Most doctors work on their bedside manner extensively so that they can provide the best care possible to their clients. Good bedside manner helps achieve positive outcomes in patients.

Even with the rise to telehealth and online doctor visits, this idea of bedside manner is not going away. Doctors and healthcare professionals have to try all the harder to create the calm, empathetic demeanor that comes more naturally in a face to face interaction.

Instead of bedside manner, doctors and other healthcare professionals are now cultivating a Webside Manner. This is similar to bedside manner, but with the added element of video communication. Much of our communication is non-verbal, such as facial expressions, hand movements, and eye contact, and these non-verbal clues are all the more important when communicating over video. Certain actions that seem natural are accentuated on a video call and become a distraction. Many people use their hands extensively when talking, but with the small area of the camera shot, too much hand motion can soon become distracting.

It is important for doctors to work on their Webside Manner as much as possible because it is a different type of communication than face to face communication.

  • Doctors must practice active listening so that they can understand their patient.
  • Clear speech and communication on the part of the doctor are also essential, as internet connection may distort the voice.

The tone is set for a telemedicine call within the first few seconds of the interaction. Patients will judge a teledoctor more severely than an in person doctor. A good first impression is essential. Doctors should appear professional. Wearing a white lab coat would not be a bad idea. To provide good Webside Manner, a teledoctor must look at his or her surroundings. What can the patient see in the background? If at all possible, these calls should take place in a private setting. If the patient can see or hear other people, they will feel like their privacy is being violated.

All doctors and healthcare professionals should desire to care for their patients as best as they possibly can. As we move into the age of telehealth, it is now a requirement for doctors to work on their Webside Manner. A good Webside Manner sets both doctor and patient up for a successful interaction and for the patient to have a positive health outcome. When doctors do this well, it opens up the relationship between doctor and patient. Patients who are more honest to their doctor about what is going on are more likely to be helped by their doctor. A bad Webside Manner will cause the patient to distrust the doctor and they will not open up about their health problems.