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These posts on a popular review site emphasize why it’s important to monitor what patients are saying about you on these and other social media sites.  This can be done easily by setting up google alerts for your center’s name, and doctor’s names, and by using any number of software products or services that will monitor this for you.

SKILL PERFORMANCE EXAMINATIONS When you see these comments, you need to respond professionally, take ownership of it, state your organizations’ policy regarding the issue, and reassure the public that you have addressed or will address the issue raised.  Don’t make excuses or blame the patient.

Now let’s address the specifics:

I told the doctor my symptoms and that I am prone to bronchitis so I wanted to have it checked out before it advanced to pneumonia (which I’ve also had before). The guy doesn’t even listen to my lungs and just writes me a prescription for antibiotics.

Overuse of Antibiotics

Dr. Kirsch shares some salient points on the subject in his article on antibiotic overuse this week.  Although we all have to deal with those patients who are truly convinced they must have an antibiotic for their (apparent viral) URI, I believe most patients want to be treated appropriately.

Yes, it takes a few more minutes to explain your findings and have a discussion about when and if antibiotics should be prescribed, and a clear understanding by the patient of the potential acute (rash, allergy, GI) and chronic (resistance) untoward effects of those antibiotics.

Medical Touch

But “the guy doesn’t even listen to my lungs” is inexcusable.  How many times I have heard patients complain “the doctor never touched me!”  Much has been written on the power of touch in medicine.  The laying on of hands.  It has several forms:

  • Diagnostic–as above, listening to the lungs, doing a thorough exam.  Gently guiding a Range of motion exam in a patient with an injured back or extremity.
  • Therapeutic–most often in the form of massage or manipulation, but can also be performing in office procedures.
  • Empathetic/Reassurance–a gentle touch on the shoulder or back, holding a hand, or even a hug under the appropriate circumstances.

Patient-Centric vs. Doctor-Centric

This time I went because I burned my wrist while cooking and a week later it wasn’t healing. I arrived around 9am to discover they open at 9.  I thought that was a stroke of good timing but I still ended up having to wait.  Seems that while the office opens at 9, the doctor keeps his own schedule. He finally arrived around 9:45…Once he arrived he was very professional and took the time to look at my burn, write prescriptions because it was infected, and also give me advice on how to reduce scarring once it healed.

I understand that urgent care centers are there for when you need a doctor but don’t need an emergency room, but I’m just concerned about the professionalism at this location.

This kind of stuff really gets my goat.  There are so many little things that seem to hang on from the “doctor-god” days.  (I’m not a young whipper-snapper, I’ve been doing this for 30 years.)

The doctor coming in to the office late (in urgent care?!)  Parking spaces reserved for the doctors in the prime location near the entrance.  Still?  Really?!  Waiting forever for a callback on a pending diagnostic result.  Do we appreciate the anxiety we put patients through?

If we do anything in urgent care, it has been the effort to make the care we deliver more accessible and convenient for our patients, and of high quality.  In addition, we should be truly focused on patient-centric care, blending the best acute care medical services with what we’ve learned from the best retail customer service companies like Apple and Starbucks, even McDonald’s (I know, “fries with that, sir?” brings back the dreaded “doc in the box” connotation — I think we’ve outgrown that by now.)

Bottom line is, we’re here to provide great service to our patients, not to pander to our professional egos.

Do you monitor your social media, consumer and medical rating sites?  How?

What do you do in your practice to provide truly patient -centric care?

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