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An Open Letter To Doctors (from your fussy patients)

doctors

An Open Letter To Doctors

 

 

Dear Doctors,

 

Obviously, I’m very grateful for the amazing work you all do. Without the years of education you put in, we’d have nowhere to go when our various health problems really get to us. So first of all, thank you! Having said that, there are a few things some of you could improve on. If you ask me, being a doctor isn’t just about physically healing people, but also putting a smile on their faces. Here’s a few suggestions I hope you all take on board…

 

doctors

Small Talk

First of all, don’t forget a little small talk. Think of when you were a young professional and full of ideas about making a big difference at your clinic. You probably always had a little chat with your patients whenever they came in. However, if your schedule is pretty squeezed these days, you may feel inclined to get it out of the way.

Please don’t rush through the appointment as quickly as possible! Being in a rush is understandable. Still, if I notice it I might end up feeling a little neglected.

 

 

 

When we first come into your room and you’re getting set up, be sure to have a little chat with us. The holidays, the weather, or something in the news. It really doesn’t matter! Your patients will appreciate the touch of humanity in the stark, white doctor’s room, and feel much more at ease.

 

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Waiting Room

Another good way to improve the patient experience is giving your waiting room and practice area something of an overhaul. If we’re battling some kind of illness we’re already stressed and downtrodden enough. If we have to come into a clinic that feels like it’s not being taken care of, it can make the whole experience even worse! Take a look around, and make plans to replace any of the healthcare furniture you have which has seen better days.

 

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The waiting room, in particular, can usually do with a few touches or additional features to make it all a little more pleasant. Why not set up some more magazine subscriptions, or a kids corner with toys and games? Your patients will love you for that last one!

 

The Doctors Visit Follow Up

Finally, make sure that you’re always following up and communicating with your patients. When I’m having lab work or testing done, or you’ve referred me to a specialist, it’s a pretty nerve-wracking time. This is especially true if my symptoms are getting worse. Call me up, ask me how I’m doing in general, and tell me about any test results I’ve been waiting on.

Doctors, Think About Your Tone

In the right tone, that is! If the news is fairly serious or daunting, make sure you’re not dropping it on me in some overly insensitive manner. Don’t sugar-coat it, but don’t dwell too much on the negatives either. Just tell me the way things are, and go on to outline the course of treatment that’s going to follow these results. When you get into a routine of following up, your patients will be happier in the knowledge that you really care about their health and their recovery from their illness.

I hope you take this letter on board, and that all your patients’ experiences are a little better as a result.

 

Yours faithfully,

 

Another Fussy Patient.

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33 Comments

  1. Doctors should take your advice! My doctor is pretty good but I’ve been to some that have left my scratching my head wondering why I waited so long for that lack of personal touch.

  2. I’ve been working in healthcare for 15 years and nothing is more true. I’m in the office area and a good doctor ‘does’ care about how your day is, how your family is and what’s new in your life. It’s pretty simple too, an ounce of people skills goes a long way to helping a patient open up to discuss their visit, health care. I’ve definitely had some doctors I’ve worked with that I’d have used as my own and some that I wouldn’t in a million years and not because of skill but their personalities and the way they treat everyone.

  3. Great advice to doctors. I don’t know how many visits where I’ve had a “cold” doctor if you know what I mean. Opposite of warm and inviting. I have the fondest memories of those who made small talk with me and asked about how I was doing, family, etc. It makes a difference.

  4. Great suggestions; I hope more healthcare professionals (dentists, physios, etc.) read this, too.

    One more thing I’d really like to see with the professionals I visit: if you’re falling really behind schedule, it’d be a great courtesy to your patients to have them called with a suggested time to show up for the appointment. My time is valuable, too, and while I can get some work done discreetly in your waiting room, it’s not ideal to sit waiting for a few hours.

  5. While good in theory, some of these tips just aren’t always feasible. Doctors take care of sick people, they aren’t in charge of ordering furniture, and talking about the weather when you have 20 other patients waiting on you just isn’t going to happen. The nurses are usually in charge of making followup calls, so you might want to discuss a time with the front desk to call you back to check up on you instead of asking the doctor. Maybe try bringing a book to the waiting room (because 30 magazine subscriptions also gets pricey) or a small puzzle for your children to do!

  6. I bring my own reading material everywhere, but do enjoy checking out different magazines in waiting areas when available. Not seeking small talk with my health care provider – let’s get down to business and talk about the problem.

  7. I have a wonderful doctor now, but I definitely feel that there is that need to schedule a ton of patients. I don’t know if it is because of a shortage of doctors or if it is because they just need more money, but it is frustrating to have to wait 30 minutes in the waiting room and then get 5 minutes for your actual appt.
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