3 reasons patients leave their doctors

We've talked previously about what it takes to win a patient for life. A new article published in the Wall Street Journal advises patients on the reasons they should ditch their doctors. Could patients fire the doctors at your practice for any of these causes?

  1. Unclear or dismissive communication. Are your patients comfortable telling you if they don't understand your explanations? If patients believe you'll get frustrated when they ask questions or dismiss their concerns, don't be surprised if they leave your practice for one in which they feel more understanding and respect. Note that physicians don't necessarily need to conduct these conversations in their entirety, but can delegate some patient education and follow up to physician assistants or other providers.
  2. Insisting on being right. If a doctor reacts unfavorably to a request for a second opinion, "that's definitely a reason to fire your doctor," Orly Avitzur, medical adviser at Consumer Reports and a neurologist in Tarrytown, N.Y., told the WSJ. If you want to build a healthy relationship with your patients, trust them to come back to you when they have all the facts. Doing the opposite in an attempt to hold on to patients will likely backfire and cause unnecessary hard feelings.
  3. Misrepresenting your credentials. The WSJ advises patients to avoid doctors who are not board certified, but this rule needn't be absolute. A problem--and trust breakdown--occurs if you simply bill yourself as "board certified" without specifying the specialty. If you are a primary care physician adding some cosmetic procedures to your services, don't lead patients to believe you are certified in dermatology or plastic surgery. Most patients may not understand the breadth of board certifications available or their significance to their care, but they will react poorly if they feel they've been misled.

To learn more:
- read the article from the Wall Street Journal

Suggested Articles

A collaboration between California payers and providers yielded millions in savings and prevented thousands of unneeded ER visits and admissions. 

Physicians certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine will soon have a new option that takes some of the pain out of MOC.

Payers and providers have made significant investments in digitizing the healthcare system but have yet to see a return on that investment.