An Open Letter To 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…
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.
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.
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.
Another Fussy Patient.