How many people does it take to care for a patient?


How many people does it take to change a lightbulb?

Five. One to hold the lightbulb, four to hold and turn the table the first guy is standing on.

This was a mean joke towards people from a certain town in an area of the world I happened to live in for a few years. In some countries, a certain town or city takes up the title of having the most “stupid” people — don’t ask me how — then becomes the target of popular jokes.

How many people does it take to care for a patient?

Well, more than five.

I, as the provider, can just focus on writing scripts, because I am blessed with helpers that facilitate my job.

I am not talking about front desk personnel, medical assistants or nurses. I am talking about chief helpers. Those who work behind the scenes to create the most beautiful patient experience one can imagine. Those who tune me up, so I don’t compromise patient satisfaction. Those who teach me how to care for a human being by clicking on the right boxes. They can help you too. They can tell you where to round first and what to mention in your notes. They can also tell you how much time you really need to see that patient. If you feel exhausted, they can even advise you on how to find inner peace, and what you should change to make your health care delivery more efficient.

Health care is complicated, my friend. Very complicated.

We are still looking for the optimal number of people needed to provide health services to a health care customer. When we know this, it will be a great day for medicine.

Oh, and don’t ask the patients, because they will say something like, “I just want to see my doctor.”

Obviously not helpful.

“DrizzleMD” is an internal medicine physician who blogs at his self-titled site, Drizzle MD.

Image credit: DrizzleMD


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