Learning to meet patients ‘where they are’ in life some days is more challenging than making an accurate diagnosis. Despite being one of the most important tasks as a physician, some either don’t learn this skill or shy away from it. And we certainly don’t as a rule do a good job of teaching this skill.
Experience dictates when physicians personally reach out to really help people at a very personal level, most patients respond in kind. Most never forget your goodwill and gestures to help them regain their health, and yes their lives.
As docs though we can only do this by being 100% on purpose. This of course is a project of great self-care and stress reducing lifestyles.
Where it’s possible, having a “menu” of services to choose from can make this entire process a whole lot easier. This can include anything from a basic option from brief urgent care, then limited but more comprehensive options all the way up to and including very elaborate treatment plans.
When we can approach care planning like this it helps put patients at ease, allows them to fully understand their choices. And more so the impact of their choices. But more so this type of approach tells patients we are willing to meet them where they currently are.
So how can we adopt more of this style of care today? Start with a staff meeting. Listen intently to what patients are asking for. Come up with new ideas, and really engage patients where they are. Be sure you keep records of your feedback and patient input to use as a tool for teaching our students.
The physician of the future practicing like this could then be much more like the old country doctor of the past.
Become that trusted advisor in your own community and you’ll never go wrong.