Dr. Andy

Reflections on medicine and biology among other things

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Patients as customers

No one would argue that hospitals and doctors should not be responsive to patients' concerns. But a business model that says the consumer is always right can clash with what is best for a patient, especially in the area of mental health.

A good commentary about how always trying to please patients can go against their best interests.

During fellowship I saw a patient who was missing a ton of school for some vague nasal/sinus symptoms. I told him clearly he had to go to school every day and we'd work on helping him feel better.

Near the end of the school year I got a call from a very insistent dad that I sign a form justifying more than 30 days of missed school. I refused, as I'd specifically told him that he should not miss school. The dad went to patient relations who got the attending I saw him with (I was still a fellow) to sign. The attending said straight out it was the wrong thing to do, but it wasn't worth fighting


At 10:35 PM, Blogger ollie said...

You get the same attitude in academia as well...sigh...

At 4:58 PM, Blogger DrTony said...

As I review the medical records submitted in support of a disability claim, I will sometimes call the asserting physician. I very often get the response, "I have to be a patient advocate." My response is, "Are you an advocate for what is best for the patient or for what the patient wants?" I am surprised by how many docs can't tell the difference.


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