I have spent more time in doctors’ offices than I care to remember. It occurred to me that my insights have merit from experience. Here are some suggestions that I would love to see implemented in doctors’ offices:
10) When speaking with the patient, talk to them as if they were your own best friend. By considering that someone close to you may be just as at risk as your patient should make you more sensitive and thoughtful to how you relate and interact with your patients.
9) Your time is valuable, but so is mine. I have no hard numbers on just how many hours I have lost from waiting on doctors, but I can assure you that I am owed at least a few months.
8) As medicine and technology continue to merge more and more and the veil of healthcare costs are revealed through websites like https://openpaymentsdata.cms.gov/, physicians ‘relationships with pharmaceutical companies and procedure providers will become public knowledge. This fascinating site reveals how much doctors were paid by drug companies (at this time the site only covers the last few months of 2013). Keep an eye on the site as it gets updated in the next few months.
7) I am not a doctor but as a patient and one who knows his own body, it is of vital importance that you hand out helpful and nurturing advice prior to rushing into altering a drug regimen or suggesting a risky life threatening procedure. Listen to the patient as well as the care partner/caregiver. Each of them has important information to relay to you to make the best possible recommendation.
6) If your patient sees more than 1 doctor other than you, it would seem practical and logical that you and the patient’s physicians share data to refrain from duplicative testing, sharing a history of allergies and sensitivities, and just keeping all the players involved, on the same page. Health requires a team effort where doctors in their specialty actually confer and share their knowledge with the other specialists working with the patient. Communication between ALL your doctors is easier in this modern day.
5) How you communicate with your patient can be more critical than the information that you are delving out. Patients get white coat anxiousness for a reason. A good visit means more than providing the patient with helpful medical advice, it would make the whole doctor experience better for everyone if you could show compassion and view a doctor’s visit from the patient’s perspective.
4) The term “waiting room” should be gone for good, but if it must still live on, how about proving that the patient/customer still matters? Comfortable seating, cheerful art, free Internet access, and water to take medications are the very least of the amenities that one might expect, as they wait. Television in the waiting room does not appeal to everyone and can be very annoying when made mandatory.
3) Some physicians have embraced technology and made strides in making it easier for patients to update their records and to reduce paper in triplicate. Patients with mobility or handwriting issues should not be forced to fill documents in by hand. Some offices have not moved forward at all.
2) The administrative people and nurses that patients must deal with are a direct reflection of your “practice” as well as you as a healthcare provider. If they aren’t treating the patient right, you may end up with unhappy patients, or even worse, fewer patients.
1) Good medicine is more than just handing out drugs or understanding the science behind a condition, it is about real care for the patient’s needs. It is about working with the patient and his or her family members to determine the best possible strategy for the patient’s future and best outcome.