Musings of a Dinosaur

A Family Doctor in solo private practice; I may be going the way of the dinosaur, but I'm not dead yet.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Well Said!

Remember all the discussions we were having about new doctors and new patients and the doctor-patient relationship and trust and all that? Well I just found this blog (where I'm even blogrolled; what a nice surprise) with a post that says it all, more succinctly and eloquently than I could ever manage:

What exactly does contribute to trust in a physician/patient relationship?
  • The subjective feeling that the doctor actually cares about the patient as a person as well as a constellation of diagnoses. To the doctor, you aren’t just a number or just another patient.
  • Communication: knowing that the doctor is willing to answer questions as they come up. Knowing the physician will call you back when you have a question or a problem.
  • The trusted doctor encourages patients to educate themselves on health issues and is not afraid to address an article or an internet reference.
  • Knowing when it is time to call in a consultation or refer to a specialist. The doctor you can trust knows when they don’t know.

So the onus is all on the physician?

Not at all.

  • The patient keeps appointments as scheduled or gives adequate notice if unable to do so. Doctors are busy and they run tight schedules. The appointment you don’t keep is an appointment someone else could have used.
  • The patient exercises patience if the doctor is running late with their appointments, knowing that medicine is anything but orderly and urgent matters arise. The patient understands that the doctor does believe the patient’s time is valuable and tries to adhere as closely to schedule as possible.
  • The patient is compliant with the medications and plan of care developed with the doctor. If they cannot be comply, they are honest with the physician in describing the issue(s) that interfere with compliance.
  • If the patient disagrees with the way a doctor deals with a medical problem, the patient is honest about their feelings and discusses the issue with the doctor. The first inkling that there is a problem should not be the request for their records to be transferred to a new office.
If these factors are present, trust in the physician/patient relationship can flourish.
What more can we doctors and patients ask of each other? Well said!

NaNoWriMo update:
Way behind because of office craziness, but optimistic about catching up over the weekend.
Word count to date: 1912
Snippet: (opening)
"It was a dark and stormy night.
Actually, it was an unseasonably balmy fifty-seven degrees in the early morning Philadelphia late fall, but that's not really important."


At Fri Nov 03, 10:07:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are ahead of me Dr. D . . . I'm at 1780. I stopped mid-sentence last night.

Re: the doctor/patient relationship

The one thing missing is this one question: if there is a breakdown in the doctor/patient relationship, is the only option dismissal? Or is there ever the possibility for the relationship to be mended and trust rebuilt?

Your son was right . . . It does sound a little like dating (I don't remember exactly how you expressed what he said)

At Sat Nov 04, 10:24:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The first inkling that there is a problem should not be the request for their records to be transferred to a new office.
There might be different reasons for it -- people move, for example, or others, not necessarily the specific problem with the doctor.
Last year my ObGyn couldn't make the appointment and they called me to reschedule. Since I needed a prescription renewal and they couldn't give it to me without the appointment, I couldn't wait 3 months for the next available opening. So the medical group suggested I see another doctor instead. I agreed and I liked this new doctor more. Nothing specific, I just felt more comfortable. So this year, I procrastinated trying to decide which doctor to schedule it with and in the meantime I missed the time to make the usual yearly appointment with the original doctor: the new doctor only recently joined the medical group and is not that busy. So I scheduled it with the one I saw last year. Was I supposed to discuss it with my old doctor? I didn't ask to get the records transferred - I didn't need to as it is the same medical group. And I might still go back to the old doctor at some point.

At Mon Nov 06, 12:16:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dr. Dino, you do know that this site, you are talking about here, is Kim's (from Emergiblog) other blog?...She is such a wonderful writer! I don't know where she finds time to do it all..


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