Dear DPC Doctor,
I’m a Patient, well, actually a father, husband and son but I’m also a Patient. It doesn’t make me feel very good when I’m referred to as that word, but I’ve been called worse. Haven’t we all? 🙂
I know what it is like to sit on the other side of the exam room across from the Doctor. I’ve seen the inside of DPC offices, the outside and I’ve experienced the habit of going for the wallet at the end of the visit thinking there might be more to this than meets the eye.
Today in healthcare, it’s rare that a Patient is ever pleasantly surprised but more often is underwhelmed. We’ve all seen the glances, the infrequent and feverish scribbling in the chart, the back and forth rolling of that wheeled chair and we’ve probably all tried on that gown.
But, on a rare occasion do we ever feel like a guest. Instead, the majority of people, e.g.. Patients, you and I included — feel like a number.
In Direct Primary Care (DPC) and other innovative healthcare delivery models we see that Doctors are trying to counteract a culture of underwhelm in a medical practice and move towards a more friendly and well, cost effective and courteous environment.
Here’s one small observation to ponder however, even in a DPC practice.
Funny enough Google defines “Patient” [adjective] and “Patient” [noun] similarly.
adjective: patient1. able to accept or tolerate delays, problems, or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious.”be patient, your time will come”synonyms: forbearing, uncomplaining, tolerant, resigned, stoical; More calm, composed, even-tempered, imperturbable, unexcitable, accommodating, understanding, indulgent;informal unflappable, cool; “I must ask you to be patient”; persevering, persistent, tenacious, indefatigable, dogged, determined, resolved, resolute, single-minded;formal pertinacious “a good deal of patient work” noun noun: patient; plural noun: patients 1.a person receiving or registered to receive medical treatment.synonyms: sick person.
Merriam Webster defines “patient” as Medical Definition of patient. 1 : a sick individual especially when awaiting or under the care and treatment of a physician or surgeon the hospital is equipped to handle 500 patients. 2 : a client for medical service (as of a physician or dentist) a good practice with a large number of patients.
When a Patient feels like a Guest, they begin to experience your medical practice before entering your building or exam room. One could argue that the care program started back in the parking lot when we parked our car and looked for your suite number only to find an unsanitary elevator and a long, cold walk to the building. As a Guest in a medical practice, we should quickly see, smell and find out how you are re-training your medical staff and see how you are prioritizing us as a Guest in absolutely EVERY encounter and interaction we have with you in your office. You should be creating memorable points in the process of care from the street to the seat.
Here are four-ways you can start changing your DPC culture and office environment today:
- The parking lot and building should be safe and secure.
- The temperature should be pleasing.
- The furniture should be useful and the seating comfortable.
- Restroom extras (e.g., good-smelling lotions and soap, etc.)
Patients are people and people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.
Have a great week!