The changes occurring in healthcare today put so much pressure on physicians that, at times, it seems we can only focus on the business aspect of medicine. With declining reimbursements and ever-increasing overhead, maintaining a stable and secure practice is certainly an overwhelming concern. However, sometimes it’s rewarding to take a look at the human side of our work.
“National Doctor’s Day,” which was celebrated on March 30 this year, provides a great opportunity to showcase the important role physicians play in the lives of their patients.
We are fortunate to have a large membership to survey each year. The patients we serve provide touching and emotional insights into just how meaningful a personal relationship with their doctor is to their health, their life, and their general peace of mind. There is no substitute for a caring doctor who can take the time to know their patients and provide crucial care coordination and emotional support when they need it most.
To honor doctors who are making a difference in the lives of their patients every day, we’d like to share some comments from our concierge members:
“My doctor has been a wonderful lifeline during a year of so much heartbreak and stress. He monitored my physical wellbeing following my husband’s sudden death and spent time listening to me. I have nothing but overwhelming praise for him.”
“I cannot express how very grateful we are for the instant care we received with a single phone call. My wife is terminal and my doctor is looking after us like the hand of God. Bless them both.”
“This year, I experienced a number of medical problems. My doctor responded quickly each time and stayed connected until I felt better. Being able to reach him 24/7 probably saved my life. It is expensive for me, but I can’t afford to be without it at my age.”
“I was recently discharged from the 30 days in the hospital that included three major surgeries in 12 days. My doctor saved my life and my sanity.”
“My doctor is very good about explaining everything to me. He takes time to listen! He gives me great peace of mind at my age—this is very important.”
“My doctor really saved me from a bad situation. She provided some key intervention when my old doctor couldn't help. She is very thorough. Most importantly, she is so compassionate and caring, and I value that.”
“Having my doctor advocate on my behalf while I was in the hospital two years ago probably saved my life.”
“I have really needed my doctor this past year. He has given urgent advice when we needed it. As my husband has had significant health concerns, I’m so thankful for his attention.”
“I could not be without this service for my brother, as he has special needs. It’s most comforting to know we get the same doctor each and every time and he knows my brother’s needs so well.”
“I am recovering from a serious and worrisome illness. My doctor and his nurse were there for me, even though I had plenty of doctors while in the hospital.”
“My doctor has been our doctor for more than 30 years. He is great—compassionate and very patient. I am a pancreatic cancer survivor of eight years thanks to his prompt diagnosis.”
“I have been a member for only a few months, yet right away I could feel how dedicated she is to her patients. She is compassionate, totally involved, taking as much time as needed, and will drive to the end to find the problem for her complicated patients. I also appreciate her extensive medical knowledge, so I can avoid trying one doctor after another, as was the case before. I am thankful to be under her care.”
“Doc knows me as a person—I’m not a social security number. He knows my medical history and listens to my complaints and has great empathy. I trust him completely. My husband is an MD and agrees.”
“She has been an extraordinary support to me. Her professional knowledge and support are outstanding. She is a blessing.”
“My medical care has been excellent. As I have Crohn’s disease, it is so reassuring to know that my doctor can coordinate all my medical needs. I have never met a more caring and compassionate doctor.”
When managing a practice gets so tough that you think you may just have to retire early or sell your practice, try to think about what you mean to the patients you serve. If your practice is struggling, remember that there are alternative practice models you can explore that tap into the value of the relationships you have spent so long cultivating.
Wayne Lipton is managing partner for Concierge Choice Physicians, LLC, and one of the most experienced and successful executives in concierge medicine. Lipton graduated from Harvard College in 1973 with a degree in Biochemistry. He attended the University of Chicago Business School and the Boston Architectural Center. He was formerly a chief operating officer for PhyMatrix, a public healthcare company; chief operating officer for Physicians Choice, a Connecticut IPA and practice management company; and president and principal of Richmond Way Stores, a local chain of drug stores that he operated for 20 years.