Interesting post at the WSJ Health Blog today….my comments:
When our patients are not our customers (insurance companies are our customers in the current setup), doctors don’t treat patients as customers. As a matter of fact, doctors provide amazing customer service…to insurance companies. Hence, the reason why we hire 4.6 staff members for each one of us – to deal with our customers and get paid for seeing the middlemen.
It’s a sad, sad situation.
Could you imagine Apple’s Geniuses scoffing at Apple customers?
The truth is…a patient should be a “partner customer.” Doctors need to get over the fact that they know best, all the time. Often times they do, but it’s absolutely vital to communicate why with their patients. Because, with our 8 minute exam visit say 5 times a year, we spend 40 minutes with each patient per year. So, the other 525,960 minutes they spend making decisions without your expertise.
It’s just reality.
But last I checked, docs are doing a very poor job chasing chronic disease and actually improving our nation’s health. Isn’t obesity, diabetes, and many other behavior-based diseases on the rise? The era of the doctor ego is over. We’ve failed as doctors because we’ve never been trained to change behavior nor prevent. We’ve only been trained to cut and prescribe. It’s time to reinvent ourselves as champions of wellness or the public will go elsewhere…as we’re seeing with the rise of alternative medicine and the distrust of our industry and profession.