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Healthcare communication

I’ve noticed lately how nice it is to see more and more smiles when I go places.  Though admittedly, it was a bit tough to take off the mask when going to busy restaurants or large stores, the reward of seeing more faces, and facial expressions such as smiles and even frowns has been well worth it.  The facial expression aspect of non-verbal communication has been greatly missed over the past couple years.  There are so many ways we utilize non-verbal communication that suffered during the pandemic.  In addition to voice, we communicate through eye contact, facial expressions, hand gestures, and even our body posture.  Many of us wondered how long it would take to return to being able to take of our masks.  Even though we are still adhering to Oregon Health Authority guidance and requiring masks at Sports Health Northwest in Portland, Oregon and other medical offices and hospitals, it is a big relief for many to be able to remove their masks in a variety of work and casual settings. 

Now that we are working our way back to a new normal after the Covid 19 pandemic, it’s time to think more about developing relationships and re-establishing deeper communication with friends, family, colleagues, and of course your physician.  Covid 19 for many individuals strained relationships because it isolated us and created a barrier to effective communication which also makes it harder to grow relationships.   Let’s face it, it’s tough to build relationships over zoom or phones or email. 

Though virtual visits were a lifeline for many to be able to bridge the gap between traditional healthcare and being cut off from your doctor due to Covid, most physicians realized quickly that there could be technology issues with the video and audio feeds and many aspects of a healthy healthcare relationship with your sports doctor require a physical exam to diagnose orthopedic injuries like knee and ankle injuries.  For many injuries like shoulder or back injuries, a thorough history is important to help accurately determine the diagnosis and treatment plan.  Effective healthcare communication with your physician has many nuanced elements that help to increase trust, satisfaction, enhance non-verbal communication, and facilitate understanding and comprehension of the diagnosis and treatment plan. 


At Sports Health Northwest, we want our Portland, Oregon area patients to know that we are committed to improving your health by utilizing a relationship centered approach to the patient and physician communication that works to improve our patient’s


Our medical team is focused on being responsive to our patients.  We are quickly accessible by phone and prioritize your time by answering calls efficiently and minimizing your time on hold.  You might even be surprised to have a physician answer when you call.  We know musculoskeletal injuries are painful and affect many aspects of work and home life and our sports medicine staff are going to work hard to offer you an appointment option the same day or within 24 hours of your call.  Our priority is you, so we are focused on building a healthy healthcare relationship with our patients that emphasizes the importance of healthcare communication, appreciates the unique and complex aspects reciprocal influence in healthcare communication, focuses on our patients’ unique abilities, personal goals, and doing our part to help you achieve your goals.

Additionally, we know everyone has their own story and we are interested in your story.  At Sports Health Northwest, we want to help you recover from your injury so that you can get back to the important aspects of your life that are meaningful for your story.  We want to understand your perspective and be open to learning how your injury or illness is affecting you.

Connect with us today so we can work together to develop a healthy healthcare relationship and provide you with an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan to get you back to the activities you enjoy faster and better than ever.

Dr Westerdahl David Westerdahl MD FAAFP RMSK Sports Medicine Physician and owner Sports Health Northwest, Inc.

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