While medicine can seem stuffy and serious sometimes, there is plenty to laugh about. From sharing a laugh over a silly situation, a patient is experiencing to gallows humor, you might be surprised to know that comedy is a powerful device for strengthening patient-provider relationships.

Laughter Is the Best Medicine

Open communication between patients and providers is essential to high patient satisfaction and positive health outcomes. Good interactions between patients and doctors don’t just establish trust and promote the exchange of accurate and honest information. These interactions also lay the foundation for long-term favorable health outcomes.

A recent study found that humor plays a surprising role in the best patient-provider relationships. Humor can be a useful tool for bringing up uncomfortable topics, encouraging patients to change behavior or provide reassurance. Humor also levels the power dynamic between care providers and patients, which can promote the discussion of sensitive subjects like anxiety about a diagnosis, frustration with a treatment or discontent about the medical system.

What Jokes Did Researchers Observe?

The topics patients enjoyed joking about might surprise you! Over 30% of jokes related to a patient’s medical condition or diagnosis. 62% of jokes occurred while the doctor was counseling the patient. In many cases, jokes were used to diffuse tense situations and encourage patients to open up. While laughter might not be the best medicine for every patient, many patients appreciate doctors who aren’t afraid to joke. It lets them know that saying something less-than-polite or professional is okay, and often provides doctors with information that they would not have gleaned otherwise.

Using Humor in Your Practice

When using humor in your practice, always remember that patients can have a mixed bag of reactions. It’s a good rule of thumb to never make a joke at a patient’s expense. Otherwise, you can joke about just about anything—doctors, the diagnosis, your practice or yourself. Even something as small as sharing funny stories from your life can help patients to lighten up and relax.

Improve Your Patient Experience with Next In Line

Next In Line is an innovative scheduling service that integrates with your existing scheduling software to offer a seamless experience for your patients and your office staff. We specialize in helping practices recover time and revenue while improving the patient experience.

To learn more about our offerings and see how we can assist your practice with efficient scheduling, get in touch by calling 443-846-0135.