Much is being written and said about Doctor / Patient Communications. There are good reasons for this. Doctors are given larger caseloads, which means less time for each patient. Patients feel rushed and believe doctors don’t care.
Although, we can’t change the current state of medical care, we can take three little steps that will monumentally change the way both patients and doctors perceive their experience.
AVADIAN’S ADVICE for DOCTORS
- Treat each patient as an individual.
Just as you are unique, your patient is also a unique individual. Help each patient feel your attention is focused on him/her.
- Give each patient an opportunity to describe his/her symptoms.
Your patient needs to feel understood even if you’re 99% certain of the diagnosis.
- Let your patient know how long you can spend in the office.
If your patient needs more time, suggest s/he book a double appointment. Help your front office team to better estimate the length of an appointment when a patient calls with a list of symptoms.
AVADIAN’S ADVICE for PATIENTS
- Be prepared when you meet with your doctor.
Your doctor may only spend only 10 minutes in face-to-face time with you because s/he needs time to review your information before seeing you and to take further notes or instruct the nurse to prepare referrals.
Tell your doctor you’re prepared to discuss your top two or three issues in the time available. If you need more time, schedule a double appointment next time or if insurance will not cover this, discuss with your doctor the possibility of scheduling one longer appointment per year. S/He may agree given your proactive involvement in your own healthcare.
- If your doctor says something you don’t understand, ask questions, until you do.
True your doctor doesn’t have a lot of time but s/he also wants to make sure you understand your care plan. Don’t be embarrassed thinking you’re asking a “stupid question.” No question is stupid when your life is on the line. Your health matters.
- Be sure to follow your doctor’s treatment plan.
Doing so will help your doctor better serve as your health care partner. Otherwise, you’re wasting your and the doctor’s time and money. If you don’t agree with the treatment plan, ask questions and discuss your concerns with your doctor. If necessary, call the doctor’s nurse to explain your concerns. Be an advocate in your own care.
DOCTORS, if your schedule often runs delayed and you feel continually rushed (and stressed) recharge with Talk with your Patient refresher. Contact Brenda Avadian, MA for a coaching session. Create the practice you visioned when you went to medical school. Avoid medical errors or worse–a malpractice suit! Brenda’s workshops are CME eligible and her private coaching sessions offer a Multiple Return on your Investment (MROI) of both time and money.
PATIENTS, if you need help when talking with your doctor, contact Brenda Avadian, MA for coaching in Rx for Talking with Your Doctor and feel that you accomplish more and feel satisfaction during the brief time you spend in your doctor’s office. First read 5 Tips for Talking with Your Doctor then schedule a 15 or 30 minute coaching session.
For more information click on