Friday, August 22, 2014
Patient Response to Appointment Issues and Priorities
Here's a really insightful comment in response to my post Family Medicine: The Generalist
I'm not sure there's a solution to this problem. As a patient I usually come to the doctor with an assortment of complaints. Often it's hard to summarize everything that's going on in a few short statements on a form or when making an appointment. Issues come and go. New things may have come up since the appointment was made. Also, being an old guy, I think I was trained by the doctor I saw several decades ago to simply talk about everything that is bothering me during an appointment. And I sometimes wonder if some minor problem may contain information that would be helpful to the doctor in understanding the more serious problem...and could actually be connected to it. I come to the doctor not as a symptom, but as a person with a number of reasons to seek medical attention. I greatly appreciate the fact that I can come to a family doctor that way and not have to visit a bunch of specialists who may have conflicting ideas about what's wrong and what to do about it. All that's good...from Dave Levingston
This statement is really helpful to remind physicians of how life really is for our patients. The era of the Electronic Medical Record adds to the tension of misaligned expectations between patients and physicians. We don't use ours, yet, but may soon dive in.
My response which didn't show was this:
Thanks, Dave for your comments. We have the continuing creative tension between patients and physicians, trying to figure out the big and little picture at the same time as enjoying a continuing relationship of humans. We might have "little picture" visits and "big picture" visits, to balance focus needs with long range needs. The patient's story remains central to every visit. Both persons stories remain central to the relationship of patient and physician- which we could find a better way to emphasize. Your comments are very insightful and right on.
As we work together on saving the good parts of health care, these considerations are important in designing the electronic connections away from the billing focus of the early EMR's to human focus. I believe it can be done in Family Medicine as we work with patients and doctors to refocus on what's important.