My wife had just finished meeting with her medical oncologist for her bi-annual check-up at MD Anderson’s Thoracic Clinic. We were sitting in an area called "the Park" rehashing what her doctor had said when a mother and her daughter sat down at our table.   There were lots of empty seats in area but for some reason they decided to sit with us.  Call it serendipity. ...

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Does physician denial of patient requests result in decreased patient satisfaction? The short answer: No. At least not in the context of a strong physician-patient relationship. Many physicians have legitimate concerns about the prospects of having their salary or level reimbursement linked to patient satisfaction. I would too given the way most health ...

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What medical condition is the most costly to employers?  I’ll give you a hint.  It is also a medical condition that is likely to go unrecognized and undiagnosed by primary care physicians. If you guessed depression you are correct.  If you mentioned obesity you get a gold star since that comes in right behind depression for both ...

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Recently, KevinMD.com picked up my post on empathy or should I say the lack of it.  I received some engaging comments. One comment in particular caught my attention. The contributor for some reason equated “being empathetic” with “giving in” to patient requests presumably during routine office visits.  Here’s a direct quote:

Give the patients what they want! Antibiotics are OK for colds. The patients want them. So ...

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Is anyone else tired of hearing about how important empathy is in the physician-patient relationship?  Every other day it seems a new study is talking about the therapeutic value of empathy.  Enough already! It’s not that I don’t believe that empathy is important, I do.  I also believe the data that links physician empathy with improved patient outcomes, ...

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A while back I did in a post where I asked the question, What can patients really expect from their physicians today? In that post, I wondered at the fact that many patients still have a high degree of trust in their physician in spite of the quality and safety problems attributed to physicians in the press. For example:

  • On average, US adults receive only 50% of recommended ...

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One of the more notable findings from the special report on the TransforMED National Medical Home Demonstration project was that “patient satisfaction doesn’t automatically go up.” Terry McGeeney, CEO of TransforMED, attributed the lack of increased patient satisfaction experienced by the 18 participating physician practices to a variety of factors, chief of which “was the turmoil of change experienced by patients as practices implemented after-hours access, quick access to laboratory results ...

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It may seem odd during these turbulent, cynical times, but a lot of people still trust their personal physician. People that have high trust in their physician tend to believe that their physician; * Is up-to-date with the latest medical treatments * Keeps track of all important aspects of their health during and between visits * Can be depended upon to act in the patient’s best interest This broad-brushed view of patient trust ...

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Patient non-adherence is a big problem. Non-adherence among chronic disease patients is associated with higher rates of hospital re-admissions, higher costs and poorer outcomes. Research has identified over 200 possible factors thought to influence patient adherence. According to the experts, these factors can be categorized into two groups: 1. unintentional non-adherence 2. intentional non-adherence. Unintentional non-adherence is related to a patient’s ability and resources to take their medication (e.g., problems with manual ...

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Ask your doctor. I think most of us would agree that is good advice, at least up to the point that we find ourselves sitting half naked on an exam table in our doctor’s office. Then the doctor walks in and for some reason many of us just “clam up.” Patient question-asking during the primary care office visit was and continues to be an “index” of patient health information ...

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