Monday, May 10, 2010

Can you fire your doctor?

While employees can be fired at will (at least, by bigtime bosses), there are some jobs that just can't be fired and left that post undone and work unfinished.

But firing your doctor?

Apparently, that is possible, and there are indications to think about it, and start the process.

Read on...
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Is it time to fire your doctor?
Allison Van Dusen, Forbes.com


Most executives know when it's time to fire an employee. Whether he or she constantly misses deadlines, doesn't take responsibility for mistakes or just isn't up to the job, the signs are usually pretty obvious.

But evaluating your doctor's performance can be a little more difficult.
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That's partly because people don't tend to treat doctors' visits like business relationships. Whether you're going for a physical or treatment for a specific condition, instead of focusing on how to get the most out of an appointment, you're probably tense--maybe even intimidated.

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There's something about playing the role of a patient that can make the most powerful CEO, stripped of his Dior Homme suit and told to put on a skimpy cotton gown, feel vulnerable. Whether it's because you're nearly naked or afraid of what the doctor might say, you suddenly may not be able to clearly explain your symptoms, ask the list of questions you brought or decipher all of those medical terms, let alone tell if your doctor is doing a good job.

If a person behind the counter at a retail store doesn't have the right attitude, you'll probably confidently walk away with your business, says Dr Phyllis Hollenbeck, a Seattle-based fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians and author of the new book Sacred Trust: The 10 Rules of Life, Death and Medicine.

"But," says Hollenbeck, "you lose that sense of being connected to your gut in the doctor's office."

Putting up with poor patient-doctor relationships can have consequences ranging from potentially billions of dollars squandered nationwide on unnecessary medical tests each year to outright substandard care. It also can be, quite simply, frustrating.

Top Tips
If you want to know whether it's time to give your doctor his walking papers, health experts suggest getting started by evaluating his or her communication skills.

"If your doctor communicates with you, explains why he is or why he's not doing certain things -- that's critical," says Dr Holly Atkinson, medical editor in chief of EverydayHealth.com, a Web site that specialises in consumer medical information.

Atkinson says she constantly hears from patients who are confused, for instance, about why a physician did or didn't order a test. Without an explanation, a woman who had chest pains, wanted a computed tomography (CT scan) coronary angiography and didn't get it might feel short-changed, not realising her physician felt the resulting radiation exposure would have been too high. When doctors don't share how they're making important decisions, they not only leave their patients in the dark but they also fail to build trust, Atkinson says.

Likewise, you might want to think about moving on if your physician has a habit of barking commands at you. If you've just been diagnosed with diabetes and the doctor rambles off a list of sweets you have to give up, you're less likely to follow through than if he or she had taken a few minutes to work with you, identify some of your weaknesses and create an action plan, Atkinson says.

It's also worth considering whether you and your doctor have personalities that clash, says Taylor Grant, founder of the health advocacy company Taylor Your Health and author of the book Health Matters: Eight Steps That Can Save Your Life -- and Your Family's Health.

Patients who bury their heads in the sand and hope for good health need doctors who will keep on them to make appointments and offer support. On the other hand, if you wouldn't dream of going to your doctor's office without a few pages of medical information you printed off the Internet, you need a doctor who won't easily be bowled over and can listen, Grant says.

How To Get The Most Out Of Your Visit
The next time you see a new doctor, try thinking of the visit as you would a date, Hollenbeck suggests. Tap into your instincts during the first 45 to 60 seconds of your appointment and figure out whether you feel comfortable. You don't have to make a final decision right away, but don't ignore your initial response.

And before you do fire a doctor, be a good executive and at least tell him or her what's wrong. Doctors don't always realise they're not hitting the mark, and sometimes they just have bad days.

"Patients can be very helpful in helping doctors run their practices and make their practices better -- if they let them know what isn't working," Atkinson says. "Doctors need feedback too."


Taken from ChannelNewsAsia.com; source article is below:Is it time to fire your doctor?
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