Moving Us Closer To Osler
A Miller Coulson Academy of Clinical Excellence Initiative

Top Tips To Improve Your Webside Manner


You might think your bedside manner is excellent, but how’s your webside manner?

In his article, How Does Your Doctor’s Webside Manner Compare To Their Bedside Manner?, Dr. Glatter discusses the pressing need to consider the etiquette required to navigate the challenges of digital patient encounters.


Here are my top 10 tips to give patient-centered, compassionate care digitally.


Top 2 Tips for Telemedicine

While attentive listening, encouraging body language, and sympathetic physical gestures are all hallmarks of good bedside manner, patient encounters conducted through calls or video limit the expression of similar non-verbal cues and body language. While there’s no substitute for excellent in-person bedside manner, when practicing webside manner, clinicians can minimize the impact of the technological barriers through these tips:


1. Start the encounter with welcoming language just as you would after knocking and entering your patient’s room.


2. Listen attentively and communicate this through affirming language.



5 Tips for Text-based Communication

When texting, we have to very deliberately convey patient-centeredness through our typed words.


1. Use a pleasant greeting like you would a letter or more formal email.


2. Legitimate your patient’s concern by repeating it, ensuring the patient knows you understand them.


3. Express empathy for their situation by naming their frustration, pain, or discomfort.


4. Deliver a specific plan that is clear about what you’ll do next and what you recommend your patient do next.


5. Close with an appropriate, friendly salutation, and your digital signature.


Our patients need to know that we care and have considered their questions thoughtfully. This is much more challenging to accomplish in the digital domain. Thus, a deliberate approach that considers webside etiquette is a must. Clinicians who are prepared to meet their patients’ expectations for excellent webside manner will be empowered deliver superior, patient-centered communication.