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Technical Skills Affect Patient Outcomes by Only 15%! Improve Your Patient Outcomes by Improving Your Interpersonal Skills
By: Nataliya Zlotnikov, MSc, HBSc

The Proof Is in the Pudding

Have you ever said something to a patient that you later regretted or thought that you could have said or explained better? 

Or maybe you've experienced blank stares in response to your very intelligent, very long explanation of a condition, exercise, treatment plan, etc.?

Words are like toothpaste. Once they're out, it's very difficult to put them back in. And if you can't communicate effectively, it doesn't matter what you know.

A healthcare practitioner's technical skills affect patient outcomes by 10-15%.

Evidence suggests that up to 50% of clinical outcomes can be explained and predicted by the interpersonal skills of the provider. 

Now more than ever, in the age of COVID-19 and telerehabilitation, effective communication is imperative!

So Why Are We Not Learning These Skills in Our Schools? 

If like most of us, you did not learn these "soft" skills (sometimes referred to as power skills) at school, join us for this continuing education online healthcare course, How to Develop Communication, Empathy, and Power Skills to Optimize Patient Outcomes. This 1-hour course is sure to improve your communication with your patients, patient satisfaction, the quality of your interpersonal relationships, as well as your knowledge of yourself. 

This course is moderated by Embodia co-founder and physiotherapist, Maggie Bergeron, and boasts a discussion with panellists, Jim Millard, Jasdeep Dhir,  and Dave Walton, co-founders of COMPASS, interactive workshops that help you develop communication, empathy and soft skills to optimize your patient outcomes. 

Click Here for the Full Course


We invite you to take a look at this short highlight video from the course and get to know our three panellists a little bit better:

Meet the Panellists 

Here Is What You Will Learn in the Course

  • How to boost your self-confidence in practice, whether you are a student, new grad or experienced clinician.
  • The theory behind effective communication and empathetic skills guided by leaders in the field of interpersonal communication.
  • How to improve your communication in your professional and personal life. 
  • The C.A.R.E (Connect, Accept, Respond, Empower) model to optimize your patient outcomes and satisfaction.
  • How to use cognitive empathy to avoid compassion fatigue. 

Who Should Take This Course?

Any healthcare professional (or individual) who is interested in understanding the importance of communication and empathetic skills, and in becoming more aware of their own communication styles, practices, and biases. We can all benefit from improved communication both personally and professionally. 

Sneak Peak

Want to learn a bit more from the course? Below are a few little snippets that we have summarized. We will first post the question that the audience asked our panelists followed by a few important take-away messages:

Confidence, Confidence, Get Your Confidence Here!

  • Grow yourself: Learn how to be a person. (I can't read this statement without hearing the Russell Peters "Be A Man"  bit in my head).
  • Are you afraid of the dark?  If you are struggling with your self-confidence, reflect on what you are afraid of. Those of us with confidence issues are often afraid of failure. Learning to stop fearing failure helps! When we fail, we learn that the consequences of failure are really not as catastrophic as we had initially imagined. Only through failure can we truly learn!

And theeen....

  • Learn the science: Learn the science behind relationship building. Everything we do starts and ends with the patient in front of us. Learning better communication skills will make you a better therapist. 
  • Learn what listening is: Huh? Pardon? Sorry, I didn't quite catch that. Learning what listening is all about and asking proper questions is essential to improving your professional life and your interpersonal relationships.  

Don't Be a Hero!

  • Know thyself! Know who you are and be comfortable with that. All good communication will come from this. Jim likes to take a second between patients and take a look at himself, making a quick note of what he can do a little better next time. 
  • Decrease the pressure: We all mess up every day, keep working on your communication with yourself and with others. The more you mess up, the better you'll get!
  • Positive self-talk: Who's your hardest critic? Yes, you are, that's right, you're your hardest critic. This last sentence was written in baby-talk in case it wasn't funny the first time (if it isn't funny the second time, there's nothing I can do - sorry). As humans, we tend to judge ourselves rapidly and often harshly. We must instead be able to exercise personal self-reflection and be willing to say "I did mess up there, and I am just as human as anyone else."
  • Don't own the outcome, facilitate: You do not own your patient's outcome. Once again for the people in the back! That's right, you are just there to facilitate. Don't be a hero! Knowing your role will allow you to grow yourself and improve your patient interactions and outcomes. 
  • Who's there? Jim used to walk into his sessions saying to himself, "Here I am!" Now, after many years of experience, Jim's approach has changed to, "There you are!" If that won't improve your communication with your patients I don't know what will.

Can You Connect?

  • Social styles: We all have different communication styles. If your style does not match that of your patient, you may need to tweak yours a bit for your interaction. You can check out many of the free social styles questionnaires online. Here is one if you are not in the mood to search for it. 
  • You will not connect with everyone: We are all human, not connecting with a patient does not mean that you are failing. You may not be able to connect with everyone, but as long as you've been thoughtful about the process that's all you can do. 

The complete course of course contains a lot more thorough and detailed information. If the above summary piqued your interest, check out this online healthcare course by following the link below. Remember...

People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care.

-Theodore Roosevelt

How to Connect With Your Patients

Magical Education for a Magical Time

Perhaps one of my favourite quotes from this course comes from Dave, "What a great time we live in, where Instagram influencer is a job, and goat yoga is something you can go to. We're living in a magical time."

Maybe I was just looking for any excuse to put this quote in because it's simply fabulous, that's not important. What is important, is that we know that the world we inhabit is not the same as it was even a few years ago.

We no longer have patients, we have clients; we often do not treat face-to-face, but treat virtually instead; our clients have more ownership over, and knowledge of their own health and demand more. We need many new tools to not only survive but thrive in this new world; one of the most important ones being effective communication. 

Discover Your Most Effective Communication


More Growth 

Have you already taken this course or simply want to check out some of our other power skills courses? Welcome, we're glad to have you! Below is a link to some of our other courses to enhance communication, improve patient outcomes, and elevate your emotional intelligence, all while increasing your practice's profits.


Elevate Your Emotional Intelligence!


Let's continue being magical, in a magical new world!

Dave Walton

Following a 10-year clinical career, Dave completed his PhD at Western University (London Ontario) in 2010 where he is now Associate Professor in the School of Physical Therapy and Director of the Pain and Quality of Life Integrative Research Lab, Honorary Associate Professor with the Discipline of Physiotherapy at the University of Sydney, and Associate Editor of the scientific journal Musculoskeletal Science and Practice.

He is the Principal Investigator on a number of large-scale initiatives including the SYMBIOME acute trauma recovery cohort study and the Physio Moves Canada qualitative exploration of threats, opportunities, and innovations for physiotherapy practice in Canada. Having authored or co-authored over 100 peer-reviewed publications, he is recognized for expertise in measuring, predicting, and preventing chronic pain and the role of trauma and stress in the experiences of pain, mobility, and quality of life.

Jasdeep Dhir

Clinical Specialist, Musculoskeletal
Registered Physiotherapist
Director-Ontario Physiotherapy Association
Secretary-National Orthopaedic Division, Canadian Physio. Assoc.
Adjunct Lecturer, University of Toronto
Assistant Clinical Professor (part time)- McMaster University
Co-Founder/Facilitator - COMPASS Interactive Workshops
Twitter @JasDhirPT

Jasdeep Dhir is the owner and director of an outpatient orthopaedic practice and has been treating patients for over 17 years. In that time she has completed her transitional Post Professional Doctorate in MSK Management from EIM and an MClSc (MT) from Western University. She is a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Manipulative Physiotherapy. She has also earned the Clinical Specialist, Musculoskeletal designation from the Canadian Physiotherapy Association.  She also instructs and mentors within the Orthopaedic Division education system.  She is as Adjunct Lecturer in the MPT program at the University of Toronto and is an Assistant Clinical Professor (part time) and Sessional Instructor in the MPT program at McMaster University. She is an advocate for the profession as demonstrated by her numerous Committee involvements. She currently sits on the board of directors of the Ontario Physiotherapy Association and fills the role of Secretary of the National Orthopaedic Division. She has presented at symposia at both the provincial and national levels. She is also involved in providing and facilitating a variety of continuing education courses. She is the Co- Founder of COMPASS Interactive workshops, which provides continuing education in Interpersonal skills development. She has been recognized for contributions in teaching at the University of Toronto and awarded for excellence in mentorship by the Canadian Physiotherapy Association.

Jim Millard

A native of London Ontario Jim has been a practicing physiotherapist for 32 years. Jim attended Western where he completed a BSc (PT) in 1991 and a MClSc (PT) in 2010. Jim also completed a clinical DPT in the USA in 2013. Jim has been a fellow of the Canadian Academy of Manipulative Physiotherapists (FCAMPT) since 2000. Jim is an instructor in the Comprehensive Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy Master’s Program at Western University since its onset. He teaches the Mulligan Concept musculoskeletal manual therapy courses across Canada. Jim was an owner of Body Mechanics Physiotherapy in London for nearly two decades. Jim is now the National Director of Clinical Training and Development for CBI Health.

Jim is a strong advocate of all things biopsychosocial and mind, body, spirit. He is passionate about how we communicate with our patients and has been involved in the knowledge translation and teaching of these crucial foundational skills for the past decade. Jim feels our ability to connect with our patients is our most important asset as clinicians. These so-called soft skills are the true power skills in the delivery of compassionate care. Jim believes that as clinicians we must possess the knowledge and skills to facilitate behaviour change. Understanding the role of intrinsic motivation in adherence to physiotherapy must be viewed as a clinical competency.

Jim believes that personal development is professional development. Jim is a proponent of an infinite growth mindset. The importance of self-compassion, and resilience to our own personal wellness is often neglected. We cannot give away what we don’t already have. Jim coaches and mentors clinicians to assist them on their own growth and resilience journeys. Jim is passionate about the power of words as they intersect with the vulnerability of creative expression. He released his first book Cuoreosity: The heArt of Being, a poetic invitation to live into the questions of life in 2022.

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