Patients’ Expectations – Is PolyCare the answer?
by Ms.Seji James and Ms.Dhivya Bharathi
Patients expect social niceties such as greeting, smile, conversing in a simple language and spending time with them. They do not like Doctors’ attitude of asking questions than explaining what the cause of illness is? In many cases, the doctor does not converse with the patient but simply writes down the medicines or tests.
Patient desire that the doctor to speaks to them and not at them. They want the doctor to hear their problems patiently and be compassionate towards them. They seek empathy from the doctor. They want the feel the touch of the doctor, which sadly is missing in many doctors. When a bad news is to be broken to a patient, say about the seriousness of the illness or need to under go a surgery, the patient expects comforting words and not business like conversation.
Patients are interested in hearing the doctor’s experience in their career on handling difficult cases and similar to the ones suffered by them. The doctor-patient relationship is one of empathy, understanding, compassion, trust and belief.
Feel of touch is Missing:
A patient’s medical problem seem to disappear or seem trivial, when the Doctor spends time talking to them, examining them rather than writing various medical tests, which may not be necessary. Many patients prefer home remedies to taking plenty of medicine. Any patient would like to know what medicines or course of treatment has been prescribed for curing his or her illness, what are the side effects of medicines if any, and what restrictions they may have in terms of their diet and above all an assurance that the illness is curable. A smile from the doctor with re-assuring words makes the patient comfortable. Remember the patient comes to the doctor with total belief and trust and this trust is what the patients wish to see getting translated in the treatment of their illness.
Language also plays an important role. They feel comfortable if the doctor speaks their language. This helps them to express their problems better and for the doctor to ask questions and get answers from the patient directly and, not through an intermediary.
75% of patients prefer General Physicians to examine them and get treatment at affordable cost. Today, GPs are rare to find. Specialists are to be referred to only where necessary. Unfortunately the current trend is to run to a specialist first for even a minor ailment and spend money for all sorts of tests that may be unnecessary. In good old days we had only a physician and a compounder. Today we have specialists with computer in front of them!
Patients desire lesser waiting time and immediate attention by the doctor and not spend the whole day to see the doctor who is so busy that he does not have time to speak to them. Nurses also have to be responsible, respect patients’ rights, exhibit compassionate attitude towards the patients.
Time has come for us to look at health care cost. Direct visit to specialists in hospitals without even getting basic diagnosis by a General Physician is counter productive. That is why our hospitals both public and private are over flowing with patients and, cost of health care is increasing day by day. While medical advancement is a boon to patient care, such advanced treatment is not necessary for routine diagnosis and treatment of minor ailments. All ailments are not life threatening and all of them do not need anti-biotic. What we need is to understand the patient’s problem and provide care with compassion. The treatment should be a process of graduated response – GPs, Specialists and then Super specialists and not the reverse.
We need quality follow up and maintenance of medical records and reduce the cost of health care. PolyCare could be the best option. Such a concept as is being tried out by CovaiCare, could also be adopted for public health care. Yes, it is possible. More on that in our next Blog!