Patients book a medical appointment because they want to get rid of a medical issue. Ultimately, there’s something very logical about it: You don’t see a doctor because you’re healthy. As a result, it’s not uncommon for patients to expect no more than a diagnosis service from their doctor. They want you to tell them what’s wrong with them. That’s the first step of the relationship. Then, naturally, they expect you to cure them – when the illness is curable. But more often than not, the first part of your relationship with your patients – the diagnosis part – can be difficult to establish. In fact, some patients will need several appointments with one or more doctors to receive a clear answer to their queries. Why can’t doctors diagnose their patients more rapidly? Contrary to what popular belief claims, your medical knowledge and experience have very little to do with your diagnostician abilities. Why so? Because all doctors are trained and qualified to the latest medical knowledge. Therefore, the problem lies elsewhere.
- Ultimately your practice needs updating. Medical equipment can get outdated – either because it is, indeed, too old, or simply because it’s been used so often that it has developed a fault. An ultrasound scan, for instance, can help a GP to understand better how issues about bladders, brains, eye, kidneys, liver, pancreas, ovaries, thyroid, testicles, pregnancy and many more develop. The accuracy of the machine is paramount to the diagnostic, and consequently, a poor image can affect the future treatment. Therefore, when regular maintenance can’t improve the quality of the image, you need to look for an ultrasound machine for sale to be in a better position to help your patient. Ideally, you should run audit tests on your equipment regularly to avoid diagnosis errors as a result of equipment issues.
- Patients lie even when they don’t mean to. If you’ve watched House M.D. in the past, you know that patients don’t always tell the truth. Some lie because they feel embarrassed about their health issues. Others might not be completely honest with you, without meaning to lie. They might still hang up to their dream of a perfect life and fail to notice that the reality has nothing to do with their expectations. Being a doctor means that you have to get a good understanding of when your patients are hiding the truth.
- Your patients are stressed out. Heart rate that goes through the roof, high blood pressure, cold sweat. You’ve probably come across some of these symptoms when you’ve diagnosed patients. While they can point towards anything from a bacterial infection to heart disease, it’s important to remember that these can also be stress manifestations. Why does it matter? Because, going to see the doctor is a disruption of everyday life, and consequently can lead to an increased level of stress. Designing a waiting area that is both welcoming and relaxing can help you to reduce signs of stress. The more relaxed your patients are, the easier it is for you to figure out what’s wrong with them.
What is wrong with me, doctor? This is the question that all patients ask. As a professional, you can’t afford to take chances on their diagnosis. Consequently, improving your practice equipment, interaction and design can help you to become a better diagnostician.
Note: this post contains contributed content.