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How to Develop Communication, Empathy, and Soft Skills to Optimize Patient Outcomes

Are good technical skills enough to help patients get better?

Good communication is a proven asset for positive patient outcomes and experience. Physiotherapists are trained technically but with less focus on communication. 

At various conferences and presentations, Dave Walton has asked the audience members to visualize the best clinician they know; it may be yourself or a role model, or what you would expect a good clinician to be. He then gave the members his cell phone number and asked that they send him a text with the qualities they believe make that person a good clinician. He’s been conducting this for over three years, and recently (in April 2019),  him and his team sifted through approximately 1000 responses and categorized them into 21 different categories. Although not a scientific study, this thematic analysis below confirms that majority of responders value a range of skills - and only a few of which are focused on the technical skills of doing what I’d think of as good physiotherapy.    

Have a look:

qualities of a good pt.png
Reference: pirlresearch

Growing evidence is supporting the value of the patient-provider connection in optimizing rehabilitation outcomes. Many clinicians spend considerable time and money in courses and workshops to develop their technical skills, but at best these may 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.

The founders of the COMPASS Interactive Workshops will lead a one hour complimentary webinar to introduce the theory behind effective communication and empathetic skills. Dr. David Walton PT PhD, Jasdeep Dhir PT MClSc and Jim Millard PT MClSc have earned recognition for their teaching and mentorship.

Join them and a group of like-minded peers on a journey of self-discovery and reflection as you refine critical skills to optimize clinical outcomes.

Click Here To Register

The Details:

  • When: Nov 7 at 8pm EST
  • What: One hour complimentary webinar
  • Who: Jim Millard, Jas Dhir, and Dave Walton

Webinar Objectives:

  •  Learn about the CARE (Connect, Accept, Respond, Empower) model to optimize your patient outcomes, satisfaction, and self confidence
  • Discuss the current research that supports the development of healthcare professionals communication and empathetic skills

This webinar is intended for any healthcare professional 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.


Click Here To Register


About the Panelists:

Jim Millard - - Embodia Academy Instructor

Jim Millard (BScPT, MClSc(PT), DPT, FCAMPT)

Jim is an accredited international teacher for the Mulligan Concept of manual therapy. He is a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Manipulative Physiotherapists (FCAMPT). Jim is past vice chair of the Leadership Division of the CPA. 
Jim has been assisting Jack Miller with the Mulligan Concept in Canada since 1997 and passed the teacher certification examination in Vancouver in 2007. 
He is a lecturer at Western University in the MClSc PT program. Jim has presented at symposia both provincially and nationally on manual therapy and on therapeutic alliance/communication themes. Jim is a partner at Body Mechanics in London Ontario where he resides with his family.

Dave Walton, PT, PhD

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. He currently holds the titles of Faculty Scholar, Teaching Fellow, and MayDay Pain and Society Fellow, and has just completed a role as one of the co-leaders of the 2018 Global Year for Excellence in Pain Education.


Jasdeep Dhir, BSc (PT) TDPT MClSc (MT) FCAMPT

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.

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