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I’ve been going through an adventure in Orthopedics for the last year.  First, I was run over by a snowboarder last winter.  Yes, that’s right the winter of 2012 and not 2013.  Then, it took four months before my injury became obvious and treatment was started.  On top of that I managed to injure my good foot while trying to be non-weight bearing when my first cast was put on.

Big deal, so what’s the point of this?

For me, the big deal is that the doctors I was working with spent almost no time diagnosing before making decisions about how best to treat my injury.  When I had x-rays taken they would look at them with me in the room, not read the radiology report.  They just rushed into their opinion of how I should be treated.

This continued for almost eight months.  My “good foot” kept killing me and was causing me more pain than my right foot which was the injured one.  Finally, after making noise for the entire time about my good foot an MRI was scheduled. 

The time came for my Doctor to tell me what they found on the MRI.  Again, he hadn’t looked at either the MRI or the radiology report.  His response when I asked why was, “I know how to read these better than the radiologists do.” 

But, shouldn’t there be a little time before deciding on a treatment program?

I know that the medical profession is held up as the way we should all deal with clients by doing a thorough diagnosis before prescribing a solution.  Well, in my case I’ve been feeling, at least with the Orthopedic people, that they barely diagnose and as a result have an incomplete prescription about what’s best for me.

For example, what about physical therapy?  No comment on that.  How about getting an orthodic made for my injured foot so I can start rehab?  What sort of rehab should I be doing?  Again, there was no comment from my prescriber.

Here’s the issue:  Quality care only comes when the caregiver takes a little time to think about the people they’re working with.  I know that if I gave the standard of care I got with my doctor I would be providing my customers with a disservice, not a service.  I think we can expect the same from our health care providers; after all they’re who we hold up as examples of what should happen in a customer - provider relationship.

There needs to be time for doctors to read charts before they see patients.

This is a bad trend.  It’s caused me problems with my complex health care needs.  The doctors that I work with are just rushing from patient to patient.  It takes way too long before issues are taken seriously. 

I know that I couldn’t keep everyone straight when I’m seeing twenty or more patients per day.  I would need to at least refresh my memory for what the issue is and what the patient is dealing with.  To combat this I would need time to review the case files before I walked in an examination room to work with my patient.

I’m now going on a year from when the injury first happened.  I’m just starting to move myself towards health again.  I think if the people I was working with spent just a little time in preparation before my appointments my time to move towards full health again would have been much faster.

The point of this post and the lesson for us to learn is that we need to demand time to prepare to help our customers move forward before making suggestions or prescriptions.  We have to spend time thinking about what the best or at least a good solution could be.  We need to talk with our customers with knowledge about what we’ve covered before.  If we do this, we provide better service.  If our doctors did this we would have better outcomes in our medical care. 

To me, it only makes sense.  What about you?

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Topics: communication, lessons learned, learning experiences

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