During the past year, my 86th, I have been in doctors’ offices more often than usual.
By Thom Hawkins
The typical time allotted for an office visit is fifteen minutes. (It used to be much longer.) Doctors have three different methods for signaling that the visit is over:
1 – A doctor might simply turn around and go out the door without saying goodbye, leaving me feeling jilted, deeply offended and unlikely to return.
2 – The most frequent method is the passive-aggressive, silent, unresponsive stare until I shut up, then a quick goodbye. I will be ambivalent about returning.
3 – Some young doctors are now using what I have found to be the most productive strategy. They smile and ask if they have answered all my questions. They gently keep asking until I say yes–very compassionate and bonding. I will definitely return if I need to.
Which method is being taught in today’s medical schools? The quality and effectiveness of medical care would take a major leap forward if all doctors used number three. It would also be good for business.
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