Trust, Sensitivity Keys to Doctor-Patient Relationship

patricia-grahamBy Patricia Graham, MD

As a primary care physician and internist, I have spent more than nine years building relationships with patients.

I explain to my patients that I am their coach and their medical detective helping them sort through their medical problems and referring them to specialists as needed. Teaching patients is one of the aspects of my practice that I most value, as it draws on my background in nursing and as a teacher to medical students as an attending physician.

A foundation of trust

Along with teaching, another key foundation of my practice is building trust with my patients. I believe it is extremely important to build trustful physician-patient relationships in order to work together on the challenges of an illness or chronic condition. In order to have a relationship in which my patients feel comfortable with my recommendations, they must first trust me: trust that I am both listening to them and that I’m providing them with the most up-to-date medical advice. In this way, trust is the foundation of compliance and good health, which includes taking medications as directed, following up for cancer screenings, and keeping follow-up visits.

I have also learned through my years of practice that being sensitive to the cultural beliefs of my patients is another way to facilitate that understanding between me and my patients and also build trust between us — as is being a good listener and being accessible to my patients. Patients want to be heard and want to make a connection with their doctor.

My focus as a physician

My clinical interests are in managing chronic conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and congestive heart failure. My focus is also on preventive care, such as routine physicals, routine gynecological exams and cancer screenings.

I am also always mindful of practicing quality, evidence-based care that is also cost effective. For instance, wherever possible I minimize unnecessary testing and imaging that I believe could potentially harm patients. And with the changing environment of health care, it has become more relevant than ever to be mindful of the costs to patients to access care and prescription medications.

I am excited to bring my primary care practice to Rush University Medical Center and join the new Rush Medical Associates South Loop practice.

Patricia Graham, MD, a primary care physician with Rush University Medical Center, is now accepting new patients.

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