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Patient and provider communicating openly.

How to Improve Your Health with Better Patient-Provider Relationships

A longitudinal study completed in 2020 showed that the quality of your health improves with the quality of the patient-provider relationship. In this blog post, we’ll explain some of the reasons for how health outcomes are impacted by the relationship you have with your doctor and how you can improve it.


First, let’s talk about the patient-provider relationship.

A historical view of patient-provider relationships

Centuries ago, the relationship between doctors and patients was often paternalistic. Doctors held a tremendous amount of authority and patients followed their medical advice without question. Over the years, this has begun to change, as patients have gained more autonomy and involvement in their medical decisions.


Today, many patients and providers are moving toward a patient-centered relationship. This is a pillar of value based care and shifts the focus to address the patient’s needs and concerns.

What is value based care?

Value based care focuses on providing patient-centered care in which the provider is compensated, not for the services provided, but for the health outcomes.

What impacts a provider relationship?

It’s hard to specify a single item that improves the relationship with your provider. Many times, it’s small things that add up over time. Below, we’ve compiled a list of what can help move the needle for your patient-provider relationship.

Authentic communication

Communication is the foundation for every healthy relationship – professional and personal. Effective communication is a product of listening, clarity, authenticity and respect. Asking questions and withholding judgment is key.


Sometimes life situations lend themselves to language barriers – be it social-cultural differences or disparities in power dynamics. Maybe you and your provider are conversing in two different languages. Or maybe you’re speaking the same language but without a shared understanding of your context. It’s a challenge to truly grasp your perspective.


If you’re looking for literal language translation, many clinics provide translation services. If they don’t, try Google Translate. A shared understanding can be more difficult to remedy, but don’t be afraid to ask questions or offer suggestions. You know your body and your environment better than anyone else. Sometimes it takes a different perspective to see the true cause for concern.


It’s important to remember that communication and trust grow over time. So, if you don’t connect immediately with your provider, give it some time.

Shared decision-making

You are your best advocate, so don’t be afraid to speak up and share in the decision-making process. Your health care provider has years of training and experience, but your voice matters, too. Often, there are different approaches to treatment, so if you’re uncomfortable with a treatment or test that is prescribed, ask questions. It’s important for your doctor to understand why you’re uncomfortable so you can gain some clarity, or they can offer a different plan of action.

Emotional support

Empathy is key to creating a meaningful patient-provider relationship. Whether you are the patient or the provider, it’s beneficial to try to understand things from another’s perspective. Not only does it lead to better communication and shared decision-making, but it fuels a caring and trusting relationship.

Trust and confidence

Effective communication, shared decision-making and empathy build trust. Trust is the foundation for a healthy patient-provider relationship. When you and your provider are able to build this type of relationship, you can enjoy patient-centered care.

Find a doctor you can trust

Sometimes it can be difficult to connect with and trust your doctor. That happens, and you don’t need to feel bad about it. There are plenty of doctors available. At NewPrimaryCare.com, we have compiled a list of value based doctors you can trust. Find a doctor near you.