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AIDET: Five Fundamentals of Patient Communication

At PeaceHealth Southwest we like to use a powerful communication tool called AIDET to help enhance our patient experience. When interacting with patients, gaining trust is essential for obtaining patient compliance and improving clinical outcomes. AIDET is a simple acronym that represents how we can gain this trust and communicate with people who are nervous, anxious, and feeling vulnerable.

  1. A - Acknowledge:
    Whether you acknowledge patients by name or with a friendly smile, patients know that you have connected with them. Acknowledgment includes putting down paperwork and making the patient your focus. Eye contact, a pat on the shoulder, and a smile are all non-verbal ways of acknowledging a patient or family member.
  2. I - Introduce:
    Introduce yourself by name, state your department, and describe what you are going to do. "Good morning, Mr. Jones. My name is Mary, and I am here to start your IV. I am part of the special IV team at the hospital, and I will do everything to make this as comfortable as possible for you."
  3. D - Duration:
    Give an estimate of the time it will take to complete the procedure. "It should take me only about 15 minutes to register you." "The chest X-ray should take only about 10 minutes. However, I would ask that you stay here in the room so I can run the film through processing and make sure that I got a good, clear picture. That should add about another 20 minutes and then you should be able to go. We will have the results to your physician's office by three this afternoon."
  4. E - Explanation:
    Explain what you are going to do to or for the patient. Ask if the patient has ever had this X-ray done before or lab work drawn before. Ask if the patient has any concerns or questions before you start or any information that may make the testing easier. Explain, explain, explain—all along the way. As the technologist, you may do this procedure many times a day. For the patient it may be the only time he or she has ever experienced it. If it is going to hurt, let the patient know. We also can integrate patient safety into the discussion. For example, before drawing blood, the phlebotomist can say, "For your safety, I am going to check the test label against your ID wrist band."
  5. T - Thank You:
    Thank the patient for choosing your hospital to have the test or treatment done. If the patient is an inpatient ask, "Is there anything else I can do for you?" or, "Do you have any questions I can answer?"