I get it. I understand. Work as a healthcare provider is challenging on so many levels. Increasing demands by our healthcare organizations to see more patients….increase our numbers…declining insurance reimbursement. Our exam room patient experience is likely dominated by the computer screen. We, as healthcare providers, will tickle the keyboard keys more than we actually “lay hands” on our patients. Most appointments are booked for fifteen minute slots. Step into the exam room, and there are several more people in the “next stall” waiting on you. Competing voices….drug representatives…family members who grab you in the hall…phone calls during the work day from numerous sources.
Healthcare providers understand all that is involving in “setting the stage” for an appointment at the clinic. Patients are often so impatient. I don’t blame them, not one bit. We can’t tell them that we were delayed getting into their examination room because we had a suicidal patient just before them….or that we have just told someone they had cancer and did not have long to live….we are federally mandated by privacy protections for patients through HIPAA. We can’t talk about it. But all that aside…we have to be better somehow at providing a more personalized approach to healthcare. My ideas and thoughts are purely my own….begging to be laid out in some fashion here on this page.
In our community we have a “Citizen Police Academy” that offers the public an opportunity to get up and personal with our local law enforcement. The Academy includes the opportunity to ride-along with a police officer. It got me to thinking….what if we could have a “ride along experience” with a healthcare provider. I believe it would be eye-opening. Of course, the reality is that this would have challenges on every front, including the privacy ensured to patients in the examination room. But honestly, most patients have no idea what their MD, DO, NP or PA go through on a daily basis.
Here are my top 10 tips for a successful patient-healthcare provider relationship.
- Remember that your healthcare provider is human. Communication is important. If you are dissatisfied with your “plan of care”…talk about it. Make your wishes known.
- Be on time for appointments.
- Respect boundaries. Don’t put your healthcare provider on the spot at the grocery, at the football game by asking for a medical opinion or treatment.
- Take your medicine. Having problems with it? Call the office and let someone know. Not taking blood pressure, cholesterol or diabetes medication as prescribed can lead to a worsening of the condition, for example.
- Exercise, don’t overeat, drink your water. Staying as healthy as you can is one of the most important things you can do. The practice of self-care often can reverse physical disease states including hypertension and diabetes. Spend more time understanding what you “can” do, than what you “can’t do”.
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