Medscape op-ed on how to help today’s tense, frustrated doctors

My latest opinion piece, co-written with Placebo Journal’s Doug Farrago, was published in Medscape today.

medscape logo Entitled, Help for Today’s Tense, Frustrated Doctors (registration required), we discuss how doctors benefit from finding a ray of humor, despite the glum practice environment many physicians find themselves in:

Patients also can benefit from some levity during their doctor’s visit. We’ve heard from many patients who are growing increasingly dissatisfied after receiving medical care. They report little eye contact, decreased face-to-face time, and feeling depersonalized. These are all consequences of a medical system that promotes rushed physician encounters.

As the doctor-patient relationship deteriorates, can a well-placed, appropriate joke help?

Yes. Sharing lighter moments can make appointments feel less hurried and have patients thinking, “Hey, this doctor spent a few minutes to tell a joke, rather than rushing straight to the lab results or x-ray report.” Sensitive topics can be broached more easily once a shared laugh breaks the proverbial ice.

Enjoy the piece.

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