Thursday, June 19, 2014

Doctors and patients - To , for and with

These are valuable prepositions to remember when we talk about what we can do to fix a broken healthcare system . Today, most doctors behave as medical experts. They have authority, and when patients come to them with their medical problems , they are supposed to provide medical care and advice to them . This is a paternalistic relationship , where the doctor does things to the patient. This could be in the form of  tests and treatments. Not only are doctors trained to do this , patients have also traditionally been brainwashed into expecting doctors to do this to them. This works well for certain problems – for example, medical emergencies.

However, this is not the best model in a lot of other situations . Rather than think of patients as objects for whom things need to be done , doctors need to treat them with respect as people for whom they're providing service. This is the concept of the leader as a servant. Doctors are in a service profession , which is designed to help patients who come to them in their time of need.

The final stage is when doctors do things in partnership with patients. Here, patient are treated as intelligent adults. While the doctor brings his medical expertise to the table , the patient brings his own thought processes , his emotional baggage , his hopes, fears, dreams, needs, wants and expectations .

Working together, they can create a win-win partnership , where they do what is right for the patient using a combination of the doctor’s expertise as well as the patient’s expertise .

This will allow us to get the best possible outcomes , in terms of improving quality of care ; curbing unnecessary treatment ; controlling costs, improving patient satisfaction; and reducing physician burnout;

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