Why Cultivating Relationships With Your Patients is Important
Twice a month the New York Times Magazine runs an article called Diagnosis. These articles tell the stories of tricky medical cases and read like detective stories.
Recently there was the story of a healthy (triathlete) gentleman who had a sudden severe GI problem while traveling in Europe. He was nauseous and unable to eat at all. His daughter, an ER physician, encouraged him to come home. He was worked up at Yale New Haven Hospital. He saw a variety of doctors who did the requisite scans and scopes. Someone suggested that maybe retirement was not agreeing with him. His daughter thought this was implausible and was glad her dad was seeing his primary doctor, an internist who had known him for decades.
Under the coordination of the primary physician, the specialists diagnosed the problem, and it was corrected with surgery. Happily, the man finally feels like the person that he and his wife and daughter remember best. He’s even back to regular vigorous exercise.
But the point of this article I want to share with you is this:
Although it was the surgeon who relieved the pain, the patient gives most of the credit to the doctor who knew him well. “Anyone who didn’t know me would have just said, ‘You need to see a shrink,’ ” he said recently. “The relationship is what saved me. That plus his stethoscope.”
Here is why this article caught my attention as a hearing care provider. Hearing aid technology advances each year. The products interact with the environment and make zillions of behind-the-scenes adjustments to keep the listener hearing as best as they can.
But that said, each of our patients is unique. We take pride and joy in our long-term relationships. I have come to know my patient’s preferences, families, listening intentions, and expectations. We track your history – has the hearing changed or remained stable? What has been successful? What has needed a different solution? I’ve been in this office since 1995 so I have seen children grow up and become parents and older folks journey through the arc of life. I know my patients and they know me….it gives me joy to share stories with them, and I believe I can serve my patients best because I have come to know what they are about.
This is a great advantage of a well-established private practice setting. The hearing care providers I work with have long-term commitments with McGuire’s. Our patients get to know us…and we continue to work together with them, from hearing aid newbies to repeat hearing aid users. Relationships are key!