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    Shining a Mirror on Gripes

     

    Managing expectations and setting agendas can do wonders to make visits productive and less stressful for both physician and patient. Allowing patients to present their list of concerns without interruption, and then negotiating a reasonable goal for the visit has worked very well for my patients and me and, surprisingly, doesn’t seem to lengthen the visit.

    Late arrivals and no-shows are disruptive, yet many times is not intentionally disrespectful. It makes sense to give patients the benefit of the doubt, and then address those with multiple no-shows separately.

     

    FURTHER READING: How can physicians combat industry shortages and meet patient demands?

     

    Resorting to Facebook or Google to self-diagnose is often anxiety driven; when explored, it can reveal fears that patients need to have acknowledged in order to feel fully cared for. This may be symptomatic of an office access issue as well. Replacing cynicism with empathy can be very liberating for physicians and highly satisfying for our patients.

    This not to say that we should never allow ourselves to feel frustrated. Sometimes our buttons get pushed despite best efforts and we should feel safe seeking support from colleagues.

    System issues are also a large contributor to physician burnout and need to be addressed by creative leaders of care teams. When tempted to gripe, I try to imagine how difficult it is to be reasonable when ill or suffering, and then remind myself of why I got into this profession in the first place—to care.

     

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      We aren't sensitive enough to patient complaints of pain. So the regulators made and still insist on asking patients if they have pain and how bad it is on a scale from 1-10! Then we as physicians are blamed for having prescribed medications that relieved the pain in patient's who are not addicts but genuinely suffering from painful disorders and who have developed the physiological state of dependency where stopping the medicine will generally result in a withdrawal syndrome or the return of the pain for which it was intended in the first place. Those who are exhibiting what is called an addictive behavior are not taking the medication for pain but for a feeling of euphoria that has nothing to do with the relief of pain. The Federal Government believes that by punishing physicians with overwhelming bureaucratic paperwork generally developed by DEEP STATE REGULATORS it can somehow deflect the criticism from itself and thereby insulate itself from blame. The government never blames itself for mistakes it makes. There are always scapegoats aplenty for that purpose. So the government encourages the legalization of marijuana (wasn't it at one time considered to be the doorstep to more dangerous drugs) and in the case of the Obama administration allowing the influx of CDS and illegals from Mexico across the southern border of the US and an influx of cocaine and potential rogue terrorists from entities in league with IRAN from the Middle East so as not to jeopardize the all-important Obama legacy treaty with IRAN that ensures that it will take it's place among the nuclear powers of the world in which we live and ensure Democrat Party rule for years to come. The pressure on physicians to obey or receive reduction in re-imbursements is staggering in the face of these UNFUNDED BUREAUCRATIC MANDATES but it is not limited to CDS alone. Medications that may be helpful in the treatment of pain are being removed from consideration for many reasons including the age of the patient, the duration of their use, and simply because of cost even if the medications are generics and have been used for decades. When patient's don't follow the recommendations of physicians we as physicians are to blame just as teachers are to blame because their pupils fail to learn. These are multifaceted issues for which there is no easy solution as long as the government continues to be removed from the equation.

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