If you are sometimes frustrated by the quality of your relationship with your doctor, you’re not alone.
This past week I read an article on the professional Medscape web site about this. It was written by a physician who said doctor/patient relationship quality is increasingly poor in modern medicine.
In the article he referred to this as patients ‘disrespecting’ doctors. He also mentioned increasing mistrust and patient’s perceptions that it’s “business first and patient care second.”
This physician author seemed like an unusually open and accessible person. Although he’s apparently retired from active practice, he used to give his patients his cell phone number if they really needed to reach him.
But the problems he mentioned in the article are all too common:
- Patients waiting 30 to 60 minutes past their appointment times before being seen
- Doctors using confusing medical jargon instead of clear explanations
- Not offering alternative treatment options
- Long delays before lab results are shared
- Lack of direct, clear communication
- Being inaccessible
Even though he mentioned patients not respecting their doctor, it was clear where many of the problems come from. This lack of respect towards the doctor often starts with the patient not feeling respected by their doctor.
I do love irony.
This wasn’t news to me since I hear this frequently from patients about their experiences in other medical offices.
In fact, the day I read the article I was reminded of this whole issue by a new patient who came in with her mother.
After we reviewed her situation and went over her options, she spent some time telling me about the lack of quality communication she’d received from other doctors. When I told her that I answer my own phone and emails and prefer a close communication with my patients while we’re working together, she seemed surprised.
And when I told her that I am entirely results-driven and that she would tell me whether what we’re doing was helping or not and I would adjust my approach accordingly, her mother said, “That’s the first time we’ve ever heard that from a doctor!”
My suggestion is that if you find you are not being treated respectfully and personally by your doctor, that you bring this up with them. Most physicians do care about their patients even if they sometimes get too busy to remember it.
Then if the situation doesn’t improve, I suggest you fire them and find yourself another doctor.
All the best to you for your health and happiness,