Breast cancer is not as common in men as in women, but there are 2400 cases diagnosed in men each year compared to 232,000 new cases of breast cancer diagnosed in women each year. Unfortunately, most men with a breast lump, bump, or discharge from the nipple will ignore the problem. As a result many men do not seek medical care and are diagnosed when the cancer is at a more advanced stage and is more difficult to treat.
So many times we give a presentation and are not sure whether we have connected with the audience. Of course there is the look of approval on the audience face, the compliments you may receive after the program, or the observation that no one left their seat during the program. I have found that questions after the program indicates a level of interest and a connection with the audience. If you are speaking to a lay audience, you may receive validation that you did well when patients call and request an appointment.
Existing and potential patients can do more than ask friends and family about you and your practice. Now they can go online and read what others are saying about you. Interestingly enough, you can have an element of control on your reputation. It is true that you can’t control everything said about you, but you can set the scale of favorable vs. unfavorable comments in your favor with more positive comments than negative ones.
I have watched more offices over the past few years close their phones and front desk during the lunch hour. If you close your office for an hour at lunchtime, what message are you sending your patients? You are declaring that serving your patients takes a back seat to serving yourself and your employees.
There is a strong relationship comparing sports to the military, business, and also to medicine. Young athletes, in their late teens and early 20s, are mostly brawn and use their strength and speed to achieve success early in their professional careers. As the athlete matures in their late 20s and early 30s, the physiologic processes slowly decrease and efficiency and maturity and other cerebral skills emerge.
Primary Care Blog
In my medical practice, I've used note writing extensively to communicate with patients, with families of patients, and with referring physicians. And yet, when I receive a note, which is not related to patient care, it is always a little surprising and uplifting, and emphasizes why note writing (and note receiving) is so appealing.
What is your impression of an airline when you sit down and open the tray on the back of the seat in front of you and find food and coffee stains on it? You may just worry if the same attention that was given to tray tables carries over to the maintenance of the engines. Or what is your opinion of a restaurant when you go to use the restroom and find paper towels and toilet paper on the floor and puddles of fluid around the urinal? You may just question the hygiene that takes place in the kitchen. Well those same impressions that you receive in other service industries may also take place in your office.
Seven years ago I experienced the wrath of Mother Nature when Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast. My office experienced significant problems and I was not able to return to practice for nearly twelve weeks. I wrote a book, Disaster Planning For The Healthcare Professional (Jones and Bartlett, 2007) about that experience. The recent havoc caused by Hurricane Sandy impressed upon me once again that we are seldom ever secure from a disaster that can impact our medical practices. Also the complexities of computer technology, which we are all very dependent on, leaves
There are times when it is necessary to step up to the plate and go the extra mile on behalf of your patients. There is no job description for doing this and there is no manual that gives you instructions on what action you need to take on behalf of your patients. However, when you have the opportunity to do the right thing, at the right time and for the right reason, you become a better doctor and you have a sense of gratification and satisfaction that makes the practice of medicine so much more enjoyable. Let me share two stories and two examples.
Janus is the Roman god of doors and gateways but also the god of beginnings. Interestingly, good beginnings are required for good endings. The Temple of Janus had doors facing east and west, which allowed illumination of the temple at the beginning and the end of the day. Most statues of Janus show him with two faces facing opposite directions. The Janus principle in your medical practice is the idea of creating a favorable beginning of the doctor-patient interaction, which culminates in a favorable ending.