As a physician in one of the most diverse cities in the United States I often communicate with families with the help of an interpreter. Some see the language barrier as a compromise and a challenge. But it’s really an opportunity. What we fail to achieve with use of words we can bridge with non-verbal communication. Expression, touch, tone, and animation will ... Continue Reading about How a Language Barrier Creates Opportunity
A friend had asked me to see one of her neighbors. A young child with some elimination issues, the family had been to a couple of other doctors with no success. A fairly routine problem that needed the right evaluation and a consistent approach, it was sorted out in 2-3 visits. When I ran into my friend a month later, I was met with hugs and thanks for ... Continue Reading about Do Your Patients Think You’re an Amazing Doctor?
This tweet from a pediatric play therapist found its way into my feed. And it stopped me in my tracks. Children isolated during XRT therapy remain connected to their parents by a spool of string. Child holds one end and the parent holds the other. Magic string. Beyond appealing to the concrete developmental place where kids are at it serves to remind us that the ... Continue Reading about String as the Technology That Connects
In clinic I do my best to run on time. I bend every which way to see on time patients on time. It drives my staff crazy. Consequently, I prefer that my patients arrive in a reception area rather than a waiting room. The space is the same but the intent is different. Language is powerful in healthcare. Image via Donald West on Flickr ... Continue Reading about The Waiting Room
I've done some 10,000 endoscopic procedures over the past 25 years. Sometimes I offer that number as a context for risk when discussing endoscopy. This morning when discussing consent with a mother she remarked, 'But this is the only one that matters.' You may have done a procedure 10,000 times. But for the individual patient there's only one that counts. It's ... Continue Reading about The Only Procedure That Counts
It's a recurring story: A mother brings her child for follow-up. When discussing how things have gone, mom summons her phone and references a white board picture taken during her initial visit. It's a picture that outlines what her child has and what we're doing doing about it. Collaborative thinking on a white board is central to the patient encounter As most of my ... Continue Reading about White Board Documentation Beats the EHR