Empowered patients are more assertive than ever when it comes to selecting physicians.
This trend is pretty close to home for me right now, as I am trying to help my husband select an orthopedic surgeon for a major knee procedure. Having worked in health care marketing for a long time now, I can certainly recite all of the standard things to look for: board certification, education and fellowships, years in practice, hospital affiliation, etc. I also know that I tell my clients to pay attention to online satisfaction scores and reviews.
But somehow, these standard measures seem to be falling short for me. And it seems I’m not alone. I recently found a great post from Steve Wilkins, who says, “empowered patients today are being taught to be less patient, more critical and more assertive.”
He has authored a list of 12 evidence-based questions every patient should ask prospective physicians:
1. How would you describe your communication style?
2. How do you inform patients of lab test results?
3. How long after you get your lab results before I can expect to be notified?
4. What percent of your patients have had their recommended screenings?
5. Will you take the time to understand and respect my beliefs and opinions about my health and communications preferences?
6. What percent of your patients are non-compliant with respect to taking their medications or otherwise following treatment recommendations?
7. If I need to be hospitalized, who would my doctor be? You or some hospitalist?
8. What safeguards do you have in place to prevent communication hand-off errors should I be hospitalized or seen in the ER?
9. How do you feel about my bringing a friend or my spouse to my visit?
10. Do you encourage patients to ask you about health information they have found on the Internet?
11. For patients needing additional information, do you have a list of recommended websites you can give me?
12. Will I get a written post-visit report summarizing what occurred at each visit, including medication and self-care instructions?
Very interesting. How many of the physicians you represent would have great answers to these questions? I am going to recommend that our clients circulate these questions to their physicians (right after I jot them down to take to the next orthopedic surgeon appointment for my husband.)