An extremely talented physician friend had previously worked at very large healthcare organization. He had worked his way almost to the top, becoming #2 in the bioinformatics slot at his organization. He’s now a private consultant and enjoying every minute of it, taking projects that interest him and assisting other healthcare organizations with their bioinformatics needs.
I recently asked him what was it like making the transition from an institution with 15,000 employees to having his own office. He said:
” I have a lot more time now, just not when I want it but overall -my levels of stress have gone down”
Most time management training courses start with 2 basic rules:
- Make your daily list of tasks, prioritize them ABC, make 1 item and A1 and make sure to do it. Put the C items that age a bit into a C drawer and at the end of the week, throw them out
Physicians have known this for years – its called triage.
- Don’t let other people interfere with your time with unexpected interruptions. That includes smartphones.
These simple rules work extremely well as long as you stay with them.
So time management is therefore extremely important whether you are a primary care physician or an independent consultant with an MD working on bioinformatics projects.
A crucial part of time management is communications skills and my friend is outstanding at that which is why his stress levels have gone down.
Office visits with more effective information gathering by patients, more information provided by physicians, more conversation by patients relative to the physician, and more expression of affect were all associated with better health and functional status.
Regardless of visit length, physicians must develop strategies to enhance the quality of care with the amount of time available.
In the context of the individual patient encounter, the most productive technique for time management is to improve the physician’s communication skills.
Ample data show that patient-doctor communication factors affect patient satisfaction and outcomes such as medication compliance.
Physician time is not only a resource like any other part of the health care system, it is without question the most important resource in the patient-physician relationship.
We can make the best of that resource and make the patient-physician relationship more productive on a personal level by learning from the best how to manage our time (and implementing those lessons in a ruthless way) and to use better technology for managing the patient-physician relationship:
Private social networking is an extremely efficient (much more than email which is chaotic and exposed to spam) provides benefits for both sides of the patient-physician relationship:
Benefits for doctors
- Having the data before the interview makes it easier and faster to take a decision
- You save time in interviews because patients can record events and experiences before they come in to the office. Data is more accurate since patients can record critical events like falls and BP drops, in proximity to the event itself.
- You can get and earlier and more consistent diagnosis and reduce the cost of inappropriate diagnostic activities since the data is more accurate.
- You can respond faster to changes in patient condition and refine the plan with better follow up on progress since the data is now flowing in both directions – from you to your patient and from your patient to you.
- Using Pathcare social apps you can treat more patients without sacrificing quality of care and responsiveness.
- The patient-doctor collaboration inherent in Pathcare heightens your patients trust and confidence in you.
- More confidence and trust contributes to the quality of doctor-patient relationship.
Benefits fors patients
- Save time with your doctor’s interviews and get right to the point – because you’ve already recorded events and experiences before you come in to the office. The data you give your doctor is more accurate since you can record critical events like falls and BP drops as they happen. When you see your physician once every 3 – 6 months, who remembers when you had that pain in your arm?
- You can help your doctor respond faster to changes in your condition and help him refine the plan, since data is now flowing in both directions - from you to your doctor and from your doctor to you.
- Knowing that your doctor is listening increases trust and better trust is better for the physician-patient relationship
- Just between us - Private messaging 1 on 1, group message from doctor to patients.
- Sharing that is so simple - Share your files, your guidance, your experience, your comments.