I ran across this video posted throughout the medical blog realm... feel free to watch. I am not certain I like this video getting publicity by me posting it here, but I think it needs to be addressed by other people in the medical field:
I'm not sure in what context this video was posted, but here is what I see... a patient with concerns that are not being addressed by the physician, the physician not really considering the patient as a valid member of the "team", and a sad, growing trend in the face of healthcare reform - that of quicker and less thorough exam times. This video could have been posted by a frustrated patient who doesn't feel like they are getting the care they need. Or it could have been posted by an arrogant physician who is tired of self-diagnosing patients. The sad fact is, patients are empowering themselves by researching what information they should be getting provided by their doctors... unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation out there, and not everyone knows how to perform research from credible sources, which leads to videos like this one.
Having been on both ends of healthcare myself, it is easy to see both perspectives... the physician is being cut out of the loop of patient care when patients self-diagnose, and can easily be offended by this... and the patient may not feel like the physician is there to do anything but collect a copay when diagnosis continues to be made without testing of any kind. These common things combined provides a lack of clarity in the identification of roles by each participant that will only increase in the next few years as we see healthcare reform roll out. The "team" effort in healthcare today faces rapid degradation in the near future.
Cost-effectiveness, efficiency and time management utilization are going to be the focus in our field, if they are not already at your institution. If you are working in a busy x-ray department, taking the extra 5 minutes to explain a procedure or let a patient simply voice a complaint can back up your exam flow to where it can take half the day to catch up to where you were. So how are we to handle these things in the face of being more cost-effective and increase productivity?
My suggestion as a giver of patient care: Take one thing at a time. Offer quality health care to the best of your availability to everyone that you encounter. If we allow ourselves to be stressed out and rush our performance for the sake of numbers on paper, that is when the quality of care is decreased, and mistakes can be made. If we continue to do a thorough job, we may have a small dip in the equation of efficiency, but if we attempt to strive toward quantity rather than quality, the risk of serious mistakes that could hurt you, your patients, and your institution increase. An appropriate balance must be sought.
There is a powerful message in this video which depicts an entire doctor's exam in under three minutes. Regardless of the motives behind the maker, everyone watching can understand at least one perspective being presented. It is our duty as healthcare providers to ensure that this does not become our standard of practice, and that we continue to care for our patients with the oath in mind that we all took at the beginning of our careers.