Friday, April 12, 2013
How Long Has It Been Since You Spent Quality Time With Your Doctor?
The other day I saw a patient in the hospital. I was covering for a partner. The patient was gravely ill. There were many decisions to be made, surgeries to be planned, and antibiotics to be given. Of the fourteen days in the oncology unit, I may have be the rounding doc once or twice.
As the situation worsened, the relationship between the patient, family, and medical staff had begun to decline. Although I assessed the patient and wrote my billable note in the morning, I couldn't help but feel that there was much more to be done. Decisions were being left open ended, and many of the realities of diagnosis and prognosis were ignored like that annoying friend that one never acknowledges in public.
As luck would have it, a number of cancellations in my schedule left my afternoon completely free. So I made a few phone calls and gathered the family. I walked into the room and sat down comfortably on a chair, and looked up at all those anxious faces.
Tell me about it.
I didn't move for nearly two hours. I waited patiently on phone calls, bathroom breaks, and pillow adjustments. When I emerged from the room, the plan was completely different. Surgeries were cancelled, antibiotics stopped, and a modicum of peace was restored to an otherwise hectic situation.
The patient/family didn't need more medical care. They didn't require an xray or a brain scan. They needed an ear to listen, and an experienced voice to help guide them.
This type of interaction takes time. It also saves the healthcare system a boat load of money.
Healthcare reform, meaningful use, quality reporting, etc, etc...what could possibly go wrong?
Well, how long has it been since you spent quality time with your doctor?
Posted by Jordan Grumet at 9:06 AM