Even before advocacy began to coalesce as a profession, back when “patient empowerment” was still a very new concept, when most medical professionals went about their business of telling patients what to do, knowing those patients would snap their heals, salute, and do it! …
It was 2007, which I’ll remind you was also pre-healthcare reform in the US… even before Barack Obama was elected, not yet the author of Obamacare. Google had been around for a few years by then, and patients were learning how to do web searches to learn about diagnoses, treatments, providers, medical research, and more.
Back in those days there was a doctor named Scott Haig who DARED call a patient who had googled him a “brainsucker.” He did so very publicly – in Time Magazine – in a disdainful tirade where he made it clear how absolutely SUPERIOR he was to all patients, and to a particular patient, named Susan. (This is when you were expected to kiss his feet.)
Have you ever noticed the initials after someone’s name?
Jane Smith, PhD
John Smith, BSRN, CCM
Jeremiah Smith, BCPA
Jenny Smith, MD, FACS
… or hundreds of others!
What do those initials tell you? They actually tell you much more than you might think.
As business owners, there are several tasks that need to be handled as the new year rolls around. If you are a new business owner, you may – or may not – have a list of To Dos like I do.
Here are some examples, including one seemingly tiny detail that so often gets overlooked, but can be totally off-putting to anyone who sees it.
On January 1, repeating each year on my calendar, my list of tasks includes things like:
Years ago I was invited to present a talk on Patient-Doctor Communications to a group of specialists. I was just one speaker during a many-day conference for thousands of doctors who had come in from all over the world.
Imagine my surprise when I was assigned to a large room, set up for 300 or more attendees. And imagine my even bigger surprise when it was standing room only! What on earth? Me? Why would so many people care what I had to say?*
The even bigger surprise came about as I began speaking. I was setting the stage for them to walk into the exam room where the patient was waiting, with two pieces of advice: First, that they check that their nametags were turned out so the patient could read them (because, you know how often then are turned backwards and can’t be read?) And second, that they NOT be reading a chart or paperwork as they walk into the room. Instead they should look their patient in the eye, then introduce themselves, “Hello. I’m Dr. So-and-So,” then wait for a moment while the patient replied with her or his name.
The surprise? That, immediately, half the attendees wrote that down! I watched them as their heads bowed to their notes and their pens began in earnest to record my words. I was floored.
When I have a good meal at a restaurant, I leave a good tip. I remember back to my college days when I waited tables between classes and studying… I know how much a good tip meant to me then. You may have had the same experience!
When we work with clients to provide life, health, and money-saving service, they don’t leave us a tip, of course. We bill them, and they pay us. But for most, their gratitude goes so far beyond what paying the bill can ever relay. That gratitude is sometimes shared in a phone conversation, or by a personal note, or even when they pass on our business cards to friends and family.
Further, most would do anything they could to thank you in a much grander way than just a quick thank you.
So let’s tap into that wish.