12 Things Docs Want to Tell Patients

September 29, 2010

Patients. All day long they tell you how they feel, but how often do you get to tell them how you feel? We asked docs what they thought: here are 12 of our favorite responses.

Patients. All day long they tell you how they feel, but how often do you get to tell them how you feel? We asked doctors in our 2010 Great American Physician Survey to fill in “What I would like to tell patients about the life and work of a modern physician.” Here are 12 of our favorite responses.

1. “I don’t make nearly the money that you think I do. I spend many, many hours of my precious time on useless paperwork that is not reimbursed.”

2. “You pay for your dinner, your car expenses, and any other items you deem necessary for your lifestyle. Why would you expect not to pay for your healthcare or expect the government to absorb all the cost?”

3. “We went into medicine to care for patients. We sacrifice family and personal time to accomplish this goal. We wouldn’t trade our profession for any other. We get frustrated with the complexity of our profession, but would never let it compromise our patient care.”

4. “It’s not as simple as it looks on TV.”

5. “Physicians today are bogged down in politics, paperwork, and regulations. And the cost of running a practice has skyrocketed during my career such that each physician is forced to see more and more patients due to less and less reimbursement. All that said, it is still the most rewarding, stimulating, challenging, and enjoyable job that I could imagine having.”

6. “I like when you smile - it relieves my tiredness.”

7. “It is not OK to abuse your bodies and expect everyone else to pay for it or take care of you. Take some personal responsibility.”

8. “Most people I know don’t go into this for the money - we do this because we want to help you and your families get better. We’re not out to rip you off: We really want to make a difference for you. A lot of the time, insurance companies, hospitals, and bills get in the way of that relationship.”

9. “The information you find on the Internet doesn’t trump my education and clinical experience.”

10. “Your healthcare is a partnership between you and your healthcare providers. We are neither your enemies nor your saviors. We are simply people. We have worked many hard years to give you the benefit of our education and experience. We do not know everything. But even when we do not know the answers or have all the tools, we have taken an oath to do the best we can to help you. Do not forsake that offer.”

11. “Medicine is not a perfect science, but it is the most beautiful work in the world.”

12. “Your insurance company pays for only a six-minute routine visit. Talk quickly.”

Abigail Beckel is managing editor for Physicians Practice. She can be reached at abigail.beckel@ubm.com.

Sara Michael is senior editor for Physicians Practice. She can be reached at sara.michael@ubm.com.

This article originally appeared in the October 2010 issue of Physicians Practice.