Tag Archives: doctors
Patients trust doctors with their health. When we think about the patient-doctor relationship in this light, we realize just how important it is for the relationship to be a healthy one. When the relationship is strong, your patient’s health will improve. When it is not, the patient may suffer from a lack of clarity about the disease and diagnosis.
According to research from The PwC Health Research Institute, patients are expecting the same facilities and customer service from their medical practitioner as they would from a bank, hotel or airline. The PwC Health Research Institute surveyed thousands of patients to gauge their opinions of healthcare and found that active listening and transparency are the top priorities for patients when it comes to choosing a medical practitioner.
Getting a warm welcome when checking into a hotel shows friendliness, but in the doctor’s office, it can be a game changer. Today, patients are twice as likely to choose or reject a doctor on the basis of staff friendliness and attitude. While 70 percent of patients want doctors to offer multiple services under one roof, nearly 65 percent will appreciate the option to exchange information through smartphones.
However, the good news is that price is not a primary driver for most patients when it comes to choosing healthcare. A patient is more than twice as likely to prefer personal experience over price when selecting a doctor or medical facility.
A patient’s experience matters more than ever, not only because your doctor wants you to be well, but because policies and awareness are driving healthcare like never before. So patients have rights, including the right to participate in their healthcare rather than being an inactive patient. Here is a list of what patients expect and deserve from their doctors:
1. Transparency: It is acceptable if a physician does not know everything about their illness or diagnosis, but patients expect their doctors to share as much as possible. Uncertainty is okay, as long as patients are aware of the truth. Also, patients understand that doctors are humans, too, and that medical errors do occur. While patients usually never demand retribution, they do want a confession of the error and an assurance that the doctor is trying to fix the error. You must always educate your patients on the success rate and the risks involved with related procedures.
2. Active listening: When your patients leave your office after an appointment, do they feel like they are leaving a speech or a conversation? This is because conversations, and not lectures, will be helpful in improving your patients’ health. Patients want a doctor who respects their opinion, listens as they describe health issues and symptoms and asks follow-up questions in order to understand the cause of their illness. If you are always rushing through appointments, it can never be beneficial to anyone involved. Your medical should listen to your patients without interrupting them or making them feel rushed.
3. Trust: If a doctor is an active listener, patients will feel comfortable sharing every piece of information, including sensitive topics, assumptions, related myths and much more. In order to develop the best patient-doctor relationship, your patients must find you trustworthy enough to talk about other factors that affect their health. If they do not, you might not have made enough effort to earn their trust.
4. Care and connection: Patients instantly recognize the obvious signs of overtreatment, and they understand that more care is not equal to better care. Most patients stay cautious of ulterior motives of medical professionals and know that much money gets made in this profession. Patients want to be sure if they are getting the right care, without financial incentives getting in the way. Also, patients crave face-to-face interaction with their doctor. They want you to listen to them. Listening to your patients’ medical history is only the start; they also want you to connect with them on an emotional, physical and spiritual level.
5. Respect: If your patient is feeling cold, arrange for a blanket. If thirsty, get some water. Without addressing these underlying human needs, impressive offices and state-of-the-art equipment are useless. So forget the fancy ceiling and lighting and hire medical staff who will treat your patients with compassion and dignity. Also, patients will wait if they get what they want. Patients are not unhappy because they had to wait 30 minutes but because they did not get what they expected during their appointment with you. Do not make your patients wait for 45 minutes and then spend five minutes with them during the appointment. Such acts will make your patients feel ignored and disrespected.
6. Effective communication: Illness can suffocate even the bravest of souls. Diagnosis and procedures can be complicated, and a patient often feels vulnerable and helpless in your office, irrespective of their reason for being there. So the last thing they would expect is to walk out of your office without understanding a word you said. As a doctor, it is your responsibility to explain everything in a way your patient can understand. Don’t get upset or lose patience if you are asked to repeat or clarify instructions.
7. Time: Accept that some patients demand more time than others. Instead of rushing and handling five things in 10 minutes, pay attention to what your patients are saying. You must learn to value their time. You should allow ample time for your patients to ask as many questions as they want during an appointment.
8. Empathy: You can easily relate to your patient by asking about the daily schedule or eating habits. This kind of interaction creates a sense of connection, which will show your patient that you care. Always try to know and develop great relationships with your patients. If the patient is comfortable, feel free to ask personal histories, daily routine and lifestyle preferences. The medications that you prescribe may have side effects, and it is your duty to educate the patients about the potential risks and benefits. Also, patients are more likely to follow your instructions and return to your practice if they feel connected to you.
9. Access: If your patient is sick and wants to be seen, you must see him or her – even if that means working late or working through lunch hours. If you are not available when they need you, what good are you to them? Similarly, your patients should not have to wait for weeks for their lab results and make numerous calls to your office to receive them. You must consider electronic health records. EHRs may not be perfect, but they are helpful in simplifying communication and access-related issues. As a doctor, you must make sure your patients have access to their healthcare information.
10. Clear instructions: During an appointment, don’t make the mistake of rushing through instructions at an unintelligible pace. Be accurate and clear, and try to type out instructions that the patients can pick up when they leave. Always take the time to explain and simplify technical and medical terminology.
11. Collaboration: Your patients understand their body and life better than you do, and therefore you must get their consent before ordering a test or offering treatment. You must talk it through with your patients until they understand the purpose and implications of a test or treatment.
Prosecutors indicted the former chief executive of the South Korean unit of Novartis and five other former and current managers over allegations they illegally paid doctors 2.6 billion won ($ 2.3 million) in return for prescribing the company’s…
Modern Healthcare Breaking News
Picture this: A physician is accused of inappropriately touching a patient during an exam. Authorities immediately access video taken from the clinician’s body camera to determine what transpired in the examining room.
If body cameras are effective in policing and racial profiling, can health care benefit from the technology as well?
Steven Strauss, a visiting professor at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, raised the issue in an op-ed published in Monday’s Los Angeles Times.
Leaving aside patient outcomes, there are also highly credible accusations that medical staff have groped and sexually abused sedated patients . Body cameras on doctors and nurses might well prevent such incidents, or provide evidence if they did occur.
MedCityNews.com reported that the video cameras could also address claims of inferior medical treatment for minorities:
In general, African Americans and other people of color receive inferior medical treatment, leading to higher death rates. David Williams, a professor of public health at Harvard, who has researched this issue, writes that blacks and other minorities receive fewer diagnostic tests, fewer treatments, and overall poorer-quality care — even after adjusting for variations in insurance, facilities, and seriousness of illness.
Physicians’ body language and minority patients
According to the Huffington Post, a recent study of body language as it relates to physician communication and patient care proves Williams’ point. Dr. Amber Barnato, an associate professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and the study’s senior author, said her team analyzed audio and video recordings of doctors who interacted with black actors. The actors were asked to portray dying hospital patients. The providers knew they were involved in a study but didn’t know what the researchers were looking for, HuffPo reported. The result? African-American “patients” received less-compassionate care from real doctors than did their white counterparts.
Barnato said: “Although we found that physicians said the same things to their black and white patients, communication is not just the spoken word. It also involves nonverbal cues, such as eye contact, body positioning and touch.”
The Huffington Post goes on to say the research suggests the doctors in the study let their black “patients” down.
When interacting with whites—explaining their health condition and what the next steps might be—the doctors in the simulations tended to stand close to the bedside and were more likely to touch the person in a sympathetic way. With blacks, the doctors were more likely to remain standing at the door of the hospital room and to use their hands to hold a binder—a posture that could make them appear defensive or disengaged.
RELATED: Fine-tune your internal communications measurement and earn buy-in for your team.
Still photos and social media expose elderly abuse
Video cameras aren’t the only tool that can be used to improve patient care. Consider the repugnant activities of numerous staffers at nursing homes nationwide. Many have been convicted of breaking abuse and privacy laws when they posted photos on Snapchat and other photo-sharing platforms. The Chicago Tribune reported a few months ago:
The incidents illustrate the emerging threat that social media poses to patient privacy and, at the same time, its powerful potential for capturing transgressions that previously might have gone unrecorded. Abusive treatment is not new at nursing homes. Workers have been accused of sexually assaulting residents, sedating them with antipsychotic drugs and failing to change urine-soaked bedsheets. But the posting of explicit photos is a new type of mistreatment — one that sometimes leaves its own digital trail.
One facility, Prestige Post-Acute and Rehab Center in Washington modified its internal communication policies after an incident in 2014, according to the Tribune:
In a statement, PrestigeCare said it fired the employee, alerted authorities and instituted new, stricter cell phone and social media policies. “We take these situations very seriously and are thankful that our own internal procedures alerted us so promptly to the issue.”
Communicators, do your crisis plans include this aspect of social media policy and employee culture? Are you coaching providers on body language as it relates to patient care? Where do you stand on the introduction of body cameras in medical situations?
Some 40 Americans are dying every day from prescription drug abuse.
In an effort to address the epidemic, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday issued 12 recommendations for primary care physicians to abide by voluntarily. The CDC’s parameters are a follow-up to President Barack Obama’s instructions from his State of the Union address in January when he noted the far-reaching effects of opioid abuse.
According to the CDC website, increased prescribing and sales have quadrupled opioid use since 1999 and “helped create and fuel this epidemic.”
The guideline provides recommendations on the use of opioids in treating chronic pain (that is, pain lasting longer than three months or past the time of normal tissue healing). Chronic pain is a public health concern in the United States, and patients with chronic pain deserve safe and effective pain management. This new guideline is for primary care providers—who account for prescribing nearly half of all opioid prescriptions—treating adult patients for chronic pain in outpatient settings. It is not intended for guiding treatment of patients in active cancer treatment, palliative care, or end-of-life care.
ABCNews.com reported that the guidelines could be widely adopted by hospitals, insurers and state and federal health systems.
Government officials have already tried multiple approaches to tackling painkiller abuse. The Food and Drug Administration restricted some widely-prescribed painkillers to limit refills. States like Florida and New York have cracked down on “pill mills” using databases to monitor what doctors are prescribing. And this week, Massachusetts signed into law a seven-day limit on first-time prescriptions for opioids — the first of its kind in the nation.
CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden said: “Changing medical practice isn’t quick and it isn’t easy, but we think the pendulum on pain management swung way too far toward the ready use of opioids.”
The recommendations—initially released earlier this year—have come under fire from many physicians on social media. For example, Dr. Stefan Kertesz, a primary care doctor trained in internal medicine and addictions, wrote on HuffingtonPost.com in January:
They [the CDC] urge aggressive use of urine drug testing to identify patients who take opioid medication differently from intended or use illicit drugs. In 56 pages, they say a lot more. My practice lines up closely with what this guideline recommends. And despite that, I feel the guideline is not yet ready, not given the regulatory power it will have.
Dr. Joseph Garbely, medical director at Caron Treatment Centers, a behavioral health and addiction treatment facility, wrote a few days ago that the CDC parameters put doctors in a “tenuous position.” If physicians refuse to prescribe an opiate, their patients might very well hop to another office until they get what they want and their continuity of care is broken, he said. “That’s why it’s critically important that the medical community play a significant role in creating meaningful change. Our goal as physicians must be eliminating irresponsible prescribing of opiates while allowing our patients’ pain to be appropriately treated. Primary care doctors are on the front lines of this epidemic but specialists have a role, too.”
Garbely also said medical schools and residency programs should mandate education about the recommendations as part of physicians’ maintenance of certification.
[Free download: The Mayo Clinic, Piedmont Healthcare and Nebraska Medicine share best practices in health care internal communications.]
From the patient’s view
Providers aren’t the only ones to voice concern about the guidelines. People living with chronic pain offered insights about how the CDC parameters may affect them. Here’s a sampling from MSN.com:
In 2013, an estimated 1.9 million people abused or were dependent on prescription opiates, drugs in the same class as morphine.
Communicators, what are providers doing to address the opioid epidemic in their offices? Are you using social or traditional media to express opinions and educate the public?
If your first question is, “How do I get a negative review removed?” you should know that it’s not easy, regardless of which online review site you’re dealing with. Each site has its own rules and most major sites make removal almost impossible. But you do have recourse. Here are some tips for getting a negative review removed…
Take a Positive First Step
Review the site’s policies and terms of service (TOS). Once you understand the site’s dispute/removal policies, your next step should be to contact the reviewer by phone, if possible, and ask for any insights that may help you resolve their problem. The easiest way to get a negative review removed is to politely ask the reviewer to remove it. If that does not work, then craft a carefully written response. Your first public response to a negative review is critical.
Avoid HIPAA problems by not revealing ANY details about the patient you are responding to – in your response post, emails or texts. Apologize to the reviewer for the negative experience that fueled their review. Offer to correct the problem immediately, if possible. If you have already corrected the problem, share the steps you took to ensure better patient care or service in the future. Your goal is to win back that dissatisfied patient with a caring, thoughtful response. Your public response can also demonstrate to potential new patients that you really care.
If you see the same negative comments repeated in multiple reviews, use them to improve your practice. Not only will this reduce future negative reviews, it will give you a competitive advantage by making your practice more attractive to patients. The one silver lining in negative reviews is that they often provide a different perspective on what may not be working in your practice. If patients frequently complain about long waits, impersonal treatment or rude staff members, you may need to address those issues and avoid future negative reviews.
More Ways to Beat Bad Reviews
Here are four potentially surefire methods and conditions for having negative reviews removed. Just remember that the burden of proof is on you.
TOS violations – Every review site has a TOS policy where they list what’s allowed or disallowed. The TOS, for example, does not allow personal attacks on you or your staff, including defamatory or derogatory comments about race, religion, disability, ethnicity or other factors. Contact the review site and let them know you believe there is a TOS violation. Many review sites use a ticketing system that’s programmed to look for certain words. If you mention “TOS violation” in your subject line or message, your comments will go directly to someone who deals with TOS violations and improve your chances of having the review removed. Also reply directly to the review stating that it is a violation of the site’s TOS and you have requested it be removed.
Legal violations – Highly offensive or illegal posts can be grounds for removal. Examples of legal violations are threatening, racist or sexist comments, graphic language or content or content that is a copyright infringement. Google offers specific advice for submitting complaints about such legal violations.
Slander by competitors – If an unscrupulous competitor slanders you on a review site, you can often have the review removed or hidden. One way to prove your claim is to show that the reviewer’s email address belongs to a competitor or someone who works for that competitor.
Erroneous reviews – Sometimes customers write reviews for another practice on your page by accident. Sometimes patients write stellar reviews but accidentally click one star instead of five. Contact the reviewer using a polite, professional tone and explain the situation, and they will often amend the review or remove it. Reviewers can always update/amend/remove their own online reviews.
- Always check to make sure the reviewer is really a current or former patient (if not, simply post that “This false review is not from my current or former patient.”
- Always contact the reviewer calmly, politely and nicely.
- Always attempt personal contact first, in person or by phone.
- Always try to understand their frustration or why they are upset.
- Ask them to remove or at least modify their review.
- Always provide proof that a review is false using clear, unemotional facts, but…
- Never divulge ANY personal information about ANY patient in ANY public medium, including websites, posts, review responses, emails or text messages as this is clearly a HIPAA violation.
Find a Partner in Online Healthcare Reputation Management
Handling online reviews can be extremely time-consuming. You would much rather devote your time to patient care. That’s why Practice Builders offers myPracticeReputation, a complete solution that streamlines the whole online reputation management process. Monitor your online reputation 24/7, capture positive reviews from your patients and automatically publish them on the Internet.
You will be able to see all of your online reviews and reputation management activities on one convenient dashboard. This technology even automates sending “please review us” emails and simple instructions to your patients, streamlines the review process for them and much more. With myPracticeReputation, you will gain more positive reviews and make those few negative reviews look more and more like outliers.
You can immediately request your complimentary Online Reputation Assessment by clicking here. Your assessment will include all the reviews that you have ever received on all review websites – including some you may not even know about – as well as your reputation score, which is on an A-F scoring basis. Overall, you will be able to see what patients are saying about you on the Internet, which is priceless (click here to start).
Learn more about Practice Builders and the benefits of using myPracticeReputation by emailing us at info@PracticeBuilders.com, calling 800.679.1200 or visiting myPracticeReputation.com.
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The government relies too heavily on advice from the American Medical Association in deciding how much to pay doctors under Medicare, and the decisions may be biased because the doctors have potential conflicts of interest, federal investigators say in a new report. This reliance on the association, combined with flaws in data collected by the influential doctors’ group, "could result in inaccurate Medicare payment rates," the investigators said. The report, by the Government Accountability Office, a nonpartisan arm of Congress, reveals new details of an obscure process that distributes more than $ 70 billion a year to doctors treating Medicare patients.
The Doctor?s Office, May 2015
With 14 million newly insured individuals gaining health coverage under the ACA since last year, 2014, nearly everyone expected doctors’ offices to be overwhelmed with new patients. But, according to recent statistics, that has simply not happened.
According to an AthenaHealth survey of 16,000 providers, there was only a slight uptick in new patient visits to primary care doctors in 2014, from 22.6 percent in 2013 to 22.9 percent in 2014.
Researchers say that people tend to access healthcare more when they are insured. And the ACA has expanded medical insurance coverage faster than any new health policy since Medicare and Medicaid were created in 1965. While 14 million newly insured sounds like a big number, it actually represents about 4 percent of Americans going from uninsured to insured status.
Many healthcare consultants and experts simply assumed that all these newly insured people would run right to the doctor’s office with a plethora of untreated or complex medical conditions. But the survey found no evidence of that. Logic dictates that a person with health insurance is not necessarily a sick person who needs to see a doctor. Those 14 million newly insured folks are not 14 million sick people.
How will you get your fair share of the patients/cases you want from the 14 million when they do get sick and search for providers? Choose your specialty here (http://www.practicebuilders.com/specialties) to learn more.