Everywhere I go, healthcare organizations are talking about their patient-centeredness. And yet, I am still encountering dozens of examples that prove the industry still has a long way to go. Just the other day I came upon an online discussion about creating posters to inform patients that their doctors would only be discussing their chief complaint during a scheduled appointment. This was designed to prevent patients from bringing up additional issues beyond the focus.
First let me say that I do believe in managing patient expectations. I’m also aware of the limitations on the provider’s time. But really; who is the poster for? I’m going to stick my neck out here and say I’m pretty certain it is for the staff and the provider who don’t want to be hassled. They are uncomfortable having to tell patients that their appointment time is limited. My advice is to give the staff and the providers the tools to have difficult conversations rather than trying to use posters and handouts. Chances are good that the information doesn’t apply to everyone and you end up risking sounding offensive. Talk to people instead.