Blog | Friday, August 8, 2008

What do patients want?

Three recent items point out to harried internists what patients really want when they see their doctor--communication.

Along comes the American Board of Medical Specialties, who released a survey that bedside manner outranked certification as a reason why patients like their doctor. Good communication was important to 95% of respondents, as opposed to certification (91%). Not to state the obvious, but it's important when the body that certifies physicians says their raison d'etre is second place to patient communication. Actually, they explain how one is related to the other here.

Next, from the trenches of good primary care, comes Dr. Rob, who has posted six commonsense rules for working with patients.

Finally, the cover story to July's ACP Hospitalist examines the difficulty of balancing being right and being polite. Says one doctor (and he is not alone in his opinion) "You're training me to be an expert and now you're going to ask me to be nice about it at the same time? As physicians, we're not trained to deal with a lot of this stuff."

How can internists balance everything they have to do and then relate it to the patient in a 10-minute visit?