If you’ve ever been in a hospital, you may have noticed placards or posters that talk about the hospital’s responsibility to the patient and the patient’s responsibilities while at the hospital. Most of these center around treating the patient with respect and privacy and conversely with the patient treating the hospital and its employees with respect. But I think there is also a code of responsibility between the physician and patient in the clinic setting, outside of the hospital. Something more personal than just patient and hospital. I’m talking about the oft-referenced patient-physician relationship.
Rather than just a listing of responsibilities that one party has to one another, let’s think of this as an Agreement.
So let’s start with the Agreement of Responsibilities that the physician has to the patient.
1. I will never keep you waiting more than 15 minutes for your clinic appointment
2. I will not say, “this will only hurt a little bit” since everyone’s pain tolerance is different
3. I will be sure you’re numb before starting any invasive office procedure
4. If I tell you the office will call you with your results, we will
5. If I take longer with the patient before you, I’ll give you the same undivided attention and time during your visit
And the patient’s responsibility to their physician…
1. I will not tell you what “my friend” suggested my physician should do regarding my care
2. If I choose you as my physician, I will take your advice and not bounce around among multiple doctors seeking the advice I want to hear rather than the advice that’s best for me
3. I will stop smoking, exercise and take my medication (suggestion by Dr. Cosgrove, CEO of the Cleveland Clinic (where I did my plastic surgery fellowship))
4. I will have patience with the doctor’s office when they are doing their best to help me with my insurance
5. I will call ahead and cancel if I’m unable to make my appointment rather than just not showing up
Hopefully you found some of these humorous since they’re based in reality. But with more understanding between the physician, physician’s office and the patient, today will be a much better day for all of us involved in this healthcare merry-go-round!