Congratulations to Marlisa Hartmann, who won the giveaway copy of Jaws: The Story of a Hidden Epidemic! And thank you to all who entered the drawing. We hope to offer others in the near future. Stay tuned for details. Meantime, on to this week’s post!

handshakeNew patients are often surprised at the time we take with them at their first visits – not just time spent focused on their specific oral-systemic health concerns but getting to know them as individuals. That communication is vital, as is the human-to-human relationship in general. Through decades of practice, we have come to understand that better outcomes happen when patients are treated and respected as individuals and partners in the healing process.

Suffice it to say, this is quite a difference at a time when more than half of all doctor visits last less than 16 minutes.

But wait! There’s more!

  • Time it takes a doctor to interrupt a patient: 15 seconds
  • Percent of the time “doctors ask patients if they’ve understood what’s just been discussed”: less than 2%

Perhaps worst of all, “the vast majority of patients sign consent forms they don’t understand,” despite their right to informed consent for any and every procedure.

The basic problem, as internist Dr. Andy Lazris notes in a recent podcast on how the doctor-patient relationship came to be so fractured, is that while the patient used to “own” their visit, now, insurance companies own it. This shift away from patient-centered care can have devastating results.

The whole podcast is worth a listen. Check it out:

Image by Aidan Jones, via Flickr

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