What Do Patients Want from their Physician?

It might sound strange, but I gave this some thought after a review of financial planning software. The overwhelming majority of financial planners use software that takes in financial data and then spits out reams of reports and charts that (in great detail) “predict” future accumulations of money and more.

I don’t use this software in our practice and I think it comes from my background in medical practice. First, we all know the futility of making predictions far out in time.  When asked the future course of a patient with a serious disease, we know of the tremendous variables involved in making prognostic guesses.  It is the same with finance, yet it is common practice in the industry to do exactly this.

But even more important is the distillation of what I think most patients and most financial planning clients really want.   They want their doctor/planner to be smart and empathetic, and to give advice that is the patients/clients best interest ALL of the time.  They don’t want or need copies of studies that provide support for the physician’s opinions and advice.  They don’t want charts showing survival curves (of either life or a portfolio).  I think that part of the despair in using EHRs comes from having to document “complexity of medical decision making” and more that ruins the simple concept of giving caring and well thought out advice.

It was such a more rewarding way to practice when I could just write in the chart the advice I had given and then just arranged follow up.  I guess software for either medicine or finances is what patients/clients don’t want.

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Steven Podnos MD, CFP

Steven Podnos MD CFP attended the University of Florida College of Medicine and trained in Internal Medicine, Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at UT Southwestern in Dallas Texas. He moved back to Florida with his physician wife (ENT) and raised a family while practicing Pulm/CC medicine for over twenty years. During that time, he also started and ran a Hospitalist program for several years. In 2002, Steve began a slow transition towards having a Fiduciary Fee Only Financial planning practice-at first just for friends and family. As the practice grew, he transitioned out of full time medical practice to full time financial planning. Dr. Podnos joined the US Air Force Reserve in 2008 as a critical care physician and flight surgeon. He deployed twice to Landstuhl Army Hospital in Germany as an intensivist during the Afghanistan war in 2009 and 2010, and as a critical care air transport (CCATT) physician in Okinawa in July 2018. His firm, Wealth Care LLC now serves approximately 100 physician families nationwide and another fifty non physician families with both financial planning and wealth management. He is a staunch advocate of independent medical practice, believing that the corporatization of medicine and Electronic Medical Records are both harmful to physicians. 

  4 comments for “What Do Patients Want from their Physician?

  1. Tim Blain, MD
    September 9, 2019 at 7:16 pm

    The EHR is no different than any other tool a physician may use such as a stethoscope, otoscope, ophthalmoscope, etc. in that if you are proficient in its use and understand its limitations it can provide tremendous benefit to the physician. Unfortunately EHR’s are really still in their infancy and primarily being utilized/developed as a payment and tracking tool. If you look closely at EHR’s the clinical potential is there but very infrequently tapped into amidst the multitude of meaningless clutter.

    • Kurt
      September 12, 2019 at 10:41 am

      EHR’s suck in primary care and are a big reason why it costs so much to provide care. When I started in 1988 a standard visit was $25.00. Now it’s way over $100.00!
      You think the software companies give you this S#it for free? No, the group has to pay outrageous “maintenance” fees to the software crooks every year.
      Oh the medication lists are more inaccurate than when we had paper. In a rural area, we end up refilling heart drugs etc. from other specialists out of convenience sake.
      If said “specialist” changes something, since the EHR doesn’t talk to each other, we can end up with a medical error. In the “olden” days, the nurse would call the pharmacy and the pharmacist would state that Dr. So and So changed this to “this” and it would be taken care of. Now with EHR the pharm guy assumes it’s a dose change and there’s no interaction. Now the nurses are spending so much time diddling on a keyboard, they don’t have time to call pharmacies anymore. I hope Obama spends time in Hades for “mandating” EHR. I saw a video of home saying how EHR would eliminate errors and life would be great for us all. He was da#ned wrong. Now I gotta worry about not killing people with medication errors more than ever. Thank heavens retirement is not too far away. (23months)
      There is NO benefit of EHR to dictated paper records and there is NO benefit of CMS or ICD codes whatsoever for primary care medicine. People go out the door and continue doing the same s#it they did before they came in your office barring some rare exceptions. That is the fact of life of primary care medicine. Most don’t listen to you. It is the worst specialty a student could elect to go into unless they find the right geographic area to set up a
      DPC practice. If they go into an area where people are too used to sucking off the government teat, a DPC practice will go bankrupt very quickly.

  2. arthur gindin MD
    September 9, 2019 at 6:25 pm

    for financial advice I recommend AIS in Great Barrington MA 01230

  3. Steve O'
    September 9, 2019 at 2:34 pm

    In 1980, they wanted predictability of cost, continuity of care, and fairness.
    In 2020, the answer is “nope, you gotta be kidding, and what are you a Socialist?”

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