Patient-Centered? Look More Closely.

Posted by Kristin Baird

You could say it’s false advertising, but maybe it’s that health systems suffer from a case of “We’ve-always-done-it-this-way” that keeps them from being truly patient-centered. One of the best examples of this is when clinics schedule appointments and THEN inform the patient when the doctor will see them. Even if the appointment won’t work for the patient.

Provider-centric Behavior

I am beyond miffed when I see how this provider-centric process affects real people. My grandson had to have a stent placed to open his tear duct over a year ago. He should have had it removed weeks ago but the practice doesn’t answer the phone or return calls even when the referring physician intervenes. Why? Because the provider and the practice determine what works for THEM. And if it doesn’t work for you and your schedule – tough. And, by the way, this is not some Podunk, back woods clinic. It’s a highly reputable academic medical center.

My daughter, who has been struggling with this clinic for months, is also highly specialized in her field and has a backlog of patients waiting for appointments to see her. Despite this, she has informed the ophthalmology clinic that she can be flexible 3 out of 5 days of each week to make it work. The response was, “That’s not how it works. We tell you what fits with us”. When she asked if one of the other surgeons could remove the stent, she was told, “Dr. X wants to do his own follow up.” The irony here is that with this system, there is no follow up. This system is designed for the provider and not the patient or family. This baby had complications from anesthesia during the initial procedure. He went home and no one ever followed up. I find that appalling.

There isn’t a provider out there who wants to see negative reviews on Yelp, Google, or any other social media. I’ve always advised consumers to go to the source and discuss their concerns with the provider so they learn and can fix issues. Yet, I hear these stories, and fully understand why consumers air their concerns on social media.

Take a closer look at your processes. If you have no intention of being patient-centered, don’t promise it. It just keeps things honest. Meanwhile, your patients are seeking out other providers.

  1. Social Media Might Be Affecting Your Patient Experience and Hospital’s Reputation
  2. Patient Experiences Spread through Word of Mouth
  3. What if Patients Wrote your Website Information?
  4. Patient Centered or Me Centered
  5. What Hospice Taught Me About Patient-Centered Care
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