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The Survey Says…Community Views on Patient Experience (part 2)

Last week’s blog post focused on the answers to 3 survey questions regarding their views on patient experience. Today’s post covers the comments posted by the respondents, which illustrate many of the negative and positive experiences that patients and family caregivers share. Although there were too many comments to include, I hope you will find this sampling informative.

Patients Feel Rushed

  • “2 weeks ago I had surgery. Recovery is taking much longer than expected. I’m struggling with the bedside manner of this Dr. I feel very rushed at appointments and often leave with questions unanswered.”
  • “Doctors are rushed AND are not emotionally prepared to talk about tough questions. Many lack the skills to be helpful.”
  • “Doctors need to be mindful of the variety of patients in their case-load. Even important doctor appointments are hurry up and wait. At times it seems that the doctors are distracted.”
  • “In general, doctors are over-scheduled, without adequate time to check patients’ records and review previous appointments, etc, or enough time to truly talk about patient concerns.”
  • “When I’ve felt rushed or not listened to, I have not gone back to that doctor.”

Getting the Best Care

  • “I leverage my position in healthcare to ensure I get what I need. Have great concern over what would happen otherwise.”
  • “I know medical staff is busy, but asking questions is the best way to identify issues and, perhaps the root cause of the problem: finding a cure vs. treating the symptoms is the best option!”
  • “Patients have to stand up for themselves and make sure all their questions get answered.
  • “I believe [the] relationship between patient and medical professional has a profound impact on the outcome of care.”
  • “Often this is a matter of the system: doctors sometimes need to book patient’s for 15 or 20 min physicals which leaves very little time for discussion. But arriving prepared with written questions, and taking notes helps.”
  • “From experience as a patient I have gotten better advocating – and making sure I have questions answered.”

Patients Don’t Always Have Their Questions or Concerns Adequately Addressed

  • “My specialist misread my results, I had to tell her I had cancer.”
  • “I never returned to see a physician who did not adequately address my questions or concerns—I immediately chose a different physician.”
  • “I often leave appointments with questions and wish I could call back with follow up questions or email the doctor with my questions.”
  • “I’ve seen countless experts in all specialties. In almost every instance, I left with unanswered questions, or questions upon research, I didn’t know I needed to ask. I feel like an unequal partner in my care, and I like my doctors. They are among the best the medical profession has to offer. I’m a quick study, and have been asked on the basis of my informed questions if I’m a doctor or other medical professional on five separate occasions. If I’m feeling overwhelmed and outmatched, I can only imagine what the average patient feels or experiences. What are they missing out on in terms of information and advocacy?”
  • “Most doctors spend time with me, but I may still leave without a sense of satisfaction if my health problems are not being solved.”
  • “While I have left confident and with answers, the follow-up to subsequent testing has been nothing short of abysmal. VERY hard to get the doctor back on the phone to interpret test results.”

Positive Experiences

  • “I’ve used the same primary physician for a number of years. He is thorough, thoughtful and always wants to hear what has changed in my life that may be impacting my health. Every specialist referral he has sent me to has also been excellent. I’ve never had a question go unanswered. Having an honest, open relationship with your physician is so important to me.”
  • “My current physician is wonderful with regards to listening and giving me time. That’s not common.”
  • “We have very good physicians and have always gotten great care and follow up when needed.”
  • “My doctors have been really great at answering all my questions. When I leave without them answered it is because I forgot to ask.”

A Desire for Telemedicine Options

  • “More virtual interaction can help if face to face is not available.”
  • “Need more Skype appointments.”

One Doctor’s Perspective

  • “I am a doctor. I have 20 minutes for a follow up and 40 minutes for a physical exam. This will not change. There is no way I can possibly address all of a patient’s questions in this kind of time frame whatever tools they have available to them. Creating an expectation in patients that a doctor could possibly address every single one of their concerns in a manner that will be acceptable to them is unrealistic. Patients with multiple concerns may have to have several appointments to get everything addressed. There is not much give time in a doctor’s schedule and it is not the doctor’s choice how much time they spend with a patient.”

 

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