When Patients Say No

How do you react when patients say “No, Doctor”. This is always a big question in medicine, getting patients to follow advice. In drug treatments it’s typically dosing compliance. In any other therapy where patients are typically treated intensively at first, it’s in-office and home care. But there is a bigger issue we need to be teaching our students early on.

Getting any human being to do anything they don’t fully understand or have faith in is futile.

This fact drives many people crazy. As Michael Gerber asserted first in the “E-Myth” many years ago, people are basically unmanageable. But what are manageable are results, systems and processes. They are also measurable. The good news is that just approaching your practice and indeed your life like this frees up enormous amounts of emotional energy.

Still, though, we are dealing with people, not hardware.

There is one thing that almost every human being responds to in kind, and that is stress free relationships with other humans, based upon trust. And of course in medicine, trust means expertise, experience and reassurance.

It’s in simply recognizing and fixing this in any healthcare scenario that builds huge patient bonds, and so often markedly better results and compliance.

So, how do we continuously build trust?

By making frequent connections on a basic, human level.

Be a better physician by using multiple avenues. Phone calls, supportive group “visits”, newsletters, handouts, Christmas Cards and more.

This is also why effective and professional usage of social media can be reassuring and soothing when patients need it the most.

And you know what?

This approach always works no matter what the size of your practice, hospital or group.

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