Thursday, December 15, 2011

Doctors are in business, too

We look at doctors in many ways: as saviors, necessary evils, irritations, servants, pain-inflictors, etc. My mom was terrified of doctors, so she always made friends with them in hopes of gaining leniency from them. It usually worked.

The best doctors are like the best small-business people, they care about their customers (patients) and they show it.  99% of the time, our doctor is not needed to perform a miracle (fortunately), so it’s his or her personality that will make the experience great or depressing or forgettable.

Think about it: the success of the typical doctor lies not in what was studied in school; it is firmly based on how he or she treats patients and staff. You can tell a doctor who is great with people by the way the staff treats the patients and the doctor. Lousy treatment shows a lousy relationship with the doctor.

As more practices are being bought by health systems, the lone doctor or small doctor group is disappearing. So is the expectation for that doctor to be all-knowing. Why? Because now that doctor is part of a 100-, 200- or even 300-physician group with specialists that the doctor can direct patients to (actually the doctor is all but mandated to do so).

So all of this means that today it is more important than ever the doctor to be the caregiver who really cares.

Barry LaBov
LaBov & Beyond

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