In my integrative medical practice, my top three patient complaints are fatigue, stress, and weight management issues. My hunch is that for many of you, you hear these same complaints from your patients.
Let’s face it — we live in a fast paced, high-performance society where we encounter more stress than ever before. As such, our patients (like us) have difficulty keeping up all the time. The external stress that we feel on a daily basis accumulates and creates some disharmonious hormone signaling: more cortisol and more norepinephrine without subsequent balance. As a result, our patients tend to feel the stress, become tired, and gain weight.
This triad often then leads to more complicated medical problems such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and depression. The commonality between all of these chronic medical conditions usually starts with the patient not feeling good on some level.
I learned early in my medical career that a key element to having success with patients is to first focus on getting them feeling good. This runs in sharp contrast to the conventional medicine guidelines that preach getting labs and blood pressure and medication compliance handled first. While these are goals that we as doctors certainly need to consider, I feel that our allegiance to them has created many of the problems with medicine these days.
First off, whenever we are seeking goals that are separate than the patients’ goals, we are not able to work as a team with each patient. And while the patient certainly wants to prevent heart disease and stroke and cancer, the patient FIRST wants to feel better.
This is why they come into our office and lay down their story in our hands. They are looking for a way back. Oftentimes, they have difficulty connecting the dots between their symptoms and what to do moving forward.
The great thing about helping your patient feel better first, is that you will be tapping into their momentum. And when that happens, the patient will WANT to come back to see you. Not only that, but they will start referring their friends and family.
I believe that most doctors get stuck themselves hyperfocused on some guideline or practicing defensive medicine for fear of being sued. All the while, the patient and the doctor are not able to connect on any type of level to make real progress getting the patient unstuck. Sure, the patient starts this medicine or that medicine and over time will hopefully see progress with their condition. But in this day and age, how many of your patients really are going to be patient?
Here is my advice to you: Figure out your top three patient complaints and then devise some very comprehensive methods to go about helping your patients get unstuck from these places. For me, in my integrative medical practice, I rely on many different ancient botanicals such as Ashwagandha to help calm and ease, CoEnzyme Q10 and D-Ribose to help spark some energy levels, and good old green tea to assist with fat burning.
But the real secret that I never tell the patient is that while these ancient remedies certainly can make a difference, the real game changer is that the patient and I have connected. We have connected and now they have hope. They literally feel this when their mood is brighter, the stress is going away, and they feel lighter in their clothes.
Because I make it a point to get my patients feeling good first and foremost, it becomes so much easier for me to help them work on all the other stuff. By first helping them reach for feeling good, I not only help to ensure that my patient will be healthier, I also ensure that my patient will keep coming back to see me.
And in this day and age when most people have very little patience and very little time, that is saying a lot!
So go ahead, start today and start planning for your top three patient complaints. How are you going to get them feeling good first?
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