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The Ongoing Struggle to Keep Care at the Forefront of Medicine

We hear the frustration: physicians want to provide the utmost care to their patients but feel they’re falling short of their own expectations. The standard 15-minute visit at traditional practices is barely enough time for brief small talk and a quick diagnosis.  Compounding the issue, as mentioned in previous posts, are federal mandates for electronic medical recordkeeping (EMR) that are tying more physicians to their screens and further impacting their interaction and time with patients.

A recent article in The Washington Post written by Brown University professor Michael Stein eloquently described the near formulaic approach necessitated by a 15-minute visit and the resulting internal conflict when kindness has to bow to the clock.

“My job, in its barest 15-minute form, is to separate the serious possibilities from the less serious, offer a diagnosis and an explanation, recommend any additional testing and list the possible courses of action,” he writes. “But a hurried, task-oriented approach doesn’t accommodate the meandering, overlapping, widening issues of patients. It undermines kindness. And it prevents doctors from being what our patients hope we will be when they walk in: unrushed explorers on the lookout for the next discovery.”

We couldn’t agree more. The alternative offered by a concierge medical practice – unrushed, lengthy appointments with time to build a strong, trusting relationship – is one of the primary reasons physicians tell Specialdocs they change to this model. Our shared belief: allowing the time for a patient to talk, ask questions and express concerns, has always been one of the most essential diagnostic tools available to a physician.

To read Professor Stein’s editorial in full, click here: article