One of the most important roles I play as a physician is the management of patient expectations. The reason it’s so important stems from the nature of my work. As a gastroenterologist to small people I work in a grey-zone. I live in the space between intestinal pathology and the complicated lives of growing children and families. And if you know anything about ... Continue Reading about How to Manage Patient Expectations
“We’ve gotta keep Mama happy” I hear this from time to time from pediatricians. The idea is that if we don’t give a mother what she’s looking for, she’ll walk. As a resident I had a preceptor who loved to pull me aside to teach me the ‘inside baseball’ of pediatrics. One day after prescribing antibiotics to a child with a runny nose, he remarked with a wink and ... Continue Reading about Keep Mama Happy
Modern clinics are obsessed with the no-show. This is the clinic patient who makes an appointment but never arrives. Clinics spend a tremendous amount of time trying to solve the no-show. They begin with operational strategy sessions. Then they call, ping, and survey the no-show. Because in a fee-for-service model in a high demand specialty, the no-show is a ... Continue Reading about The Opposite Problem of the Clinic No-Show
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
This is my first question for hospitalized patients: Tell me what you understand. Let me explain. I’m a pediatric specialist. I help hospitalists and pediatricians care for children. Actually, I’m typically one of several providers helping families care for a medically complex children in the hospital. And for better or worse communication can sometimes be ... Continue Reading about Tell Me What You Understand: My First Question for Hospitalized Patients
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?