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What If Doctors Could Write Reviews Of Patients?

Healthgrades. Yelp. ZocDoc. Facebook. Google. Wellness. These and other similar sites often create an avenue for people to vent their displeasures that can make or break your reputation and practice. 

In our world of social media, it is easy for people to chat, debate and share news (sometimes fake news) with one another. It is not uncommon, for instance, for patients to take the opportunity to rate their physicians on the following criteria: 

  • bedside manner;
  • wait time in the office;
  • staff interaction;
  • office cleanliness;
  • knowledge of the physician;
  • billing experience;
  • questions answered;
  • check-in experience; and
  • clinical staff experience.

Indeed, this is not unusual since physicians are tested and judged for most of their professional years. Various types of assessments occur in medical school and residency, during the board qualification and certification process, through the judgment of peers, teachers, attendings and now … the Internet. 

These reviews can undoubtedly work in your favor and at other times take you down a dark hole. Unfortunately, these reviews are frequently exaggerated, untrue and even defamatory. Our knee-jerk reaction is often to respond and protect our reputations. Regrettably, this may not be in your best interest. I heard, for instance, how some physicians plead with the patient to delete his or her negative reviews. Some responses even violate HIPAA. There is no question that as in the old adage coined in 1839, the pen is more powerful than the sword. Words can be powerful.

Perhaps it is time to hold our patients more accountable for their health care. Shouldn’t they play an active role in their overall health? As medicine moved from the traditional biomedical model to a biopsychosocial model, there remains a legacy of patients not taking responsibility for their care, creating a strong dependency on the physician. Medicine today requires a partnership between the physician and patient wherein the physician empowers patients to be directly involved in their treatment. 

With this new partnership in mind, both the patient and physician could have the opportunity to rate one another. Therefore, I decided to create an imaginary app that would be called the “Doctor Satisfaction Database.” Here is how it would work. 

Please rate the patient based on the following criteria 1 through 5 (1 being the lowest (worst) and 5 being the highest (best)) 

All scores are reported to the patient’s insurance company. 

Patient Timeliness

  • Does the patient cancel appointments?
  • Does the patient not show up to appointments?
  • Does the patient change his or her appointment times frequently?

Patient Cleanliness

Patient Attitude

  • Does the patient push for insist on specific treatments to the exclusion of standard care?
  • Does the patient inappropriately request narcotics?
  • Does the patient exaggerate his or her conditions or symptoms?
  • Does the patient threaten staff in attempts to obtain specific appointment times or surgical dates?

Patient Adherence

  • Has the patient followed the treatment protocol?
  • Is the patient taking proper medications?
  • Is the patient continuing to smoke even though smoking cessation has been discussed?
  • Is the patient checking and reporting fasting blood sugars when appropriate?
  • Is the patient following proper vaccination schedules?
  • Is the patient following up with proper specialists?
  • Is the patient following up with his or her primary care physician?
  • Has there been an adverse outcome based on the patient’s nonadherence to medical recommendations (i.e., amputation, delay in treatment, etc.)?

Miscellaneous

  • Patient interaction with staff
  • Patient interaction with the doctor
  • Patient interaction with billing

Although a nice fantasy, the empowering partnership concept is critical to adopt. When a person is fully engaged in any process, he or she becomes more committed to the outcome. A sense of ownership enhances the relationship, adherence and responsibility. Since my imaginary app is not available at this time, I recommend following Dr. Lisa’s 3-Cs of engagement tips.

1. Connect by

  • Building positive and genuine relationships.
  • Demonstrating RICH trustworthy behaviors:
    • Reliable
    • Integrity
    • Credible
    • Humble

2. Communicate by

  • Listening with your eyes, ears, and heart
  • Being open and transparent. Use simple terms and eliminate medical jargon.
  • Recognize and validate the patient’s feelings and accomplishments.

3. Collaborate by

  • Allowing the patient to contribute to the treatment plan.
  • Conveying a treatment plan that is aligned with the patient’s ability, motivation, and expectations.

Alternatively, for $19.95, you place your order now to receive the soon to be released Doctor Satisfaction Database App. 😊

Dr. Levick-Doane is a Diplomate of the American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery and the American Board of Podiatric Medicine. She is in private practice in Chicago.

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