April 25, 2013

Incentives Needed for Docs to Engage Patients

I wonder why doctors need incentives to engage patients. Many doctors don't communicate well with patients, but give them incentives like more money – why? Their practices will shortly become extinct as it is and this is because patients are learning that they don't like being talked at, looked down on, or ignored while the doctor rushes to complete his time with you and move on to the next poor sole to treat them the same. I say let these practices fall by the wayside and good riddance.

In more studies, communication, aka, “patient engagement” is being stressed more and more. The studies are also hauling out more terms to hang on us as patients. My blog here describes one term “patient activation” as measured by the Patient Activation Measure. This is one of the measurements that they take of us so they can decide if we are compliant or non-compliant. The more activated we are the more compliant we become. This article also uses this as if it is a key to patient engagement (communication). Read my blog here on communications.

Now I will say something as I'm becoming very aggravated with how the authors treat us as patients. I say, let us use terms we are all familiar with hearing. Call us “patients” and we will use the term “doctors” and if you need to muddy up the terminology among yourselves, don't do it in writing we can read or in communication when we can hear you. Communication is the exchange of ideas and is needed to improve doctor/patient relations. If you wish to engage us in conversation during our appointments, that is fine with us, just don't label us and what you are doing as “patient engagement.” If the only way you have of communicate with us is by “patient engagement,” tell us so that we can move on to another doctor that is willing to communicate with us and not because it is the only way to earn your additional fee.

As patients, if we are viewed as a way to earn additional fees, sooner or later we will devise a way to cut these fees off and leave you wondering what you have done to be severed from your fees. I am not sure which group is to be blamed for this, but it is part of this article and shows just how doctors want to have that money to do something they should already be doing. “Several panel members, including Kaplan, noted doctors aren't incentivized to allow patients to ask questions or take a greater role in their care. A day-long workshop hosted by Health Affairs earlier this month included comments from many participants that pay models need to be developed to reward doctors for helping patients take a greater role in planning their care.” The bold is my added emphasis.

Another article echoed much the same feeling and there it was stated that the team approach could be handled by the nurses. To me this is a farce because the doctors have dug the hole they are in and want more money to be bailed out of their own system. They could not use communications before and now want to be paid for communicating. I have to disagree and say to these doctors – eat what you have fed us for years. It is your just desserts for your attitudes that you are so far above us that we don't deserve to be communicated with for our better health.

That we need to pay you more for your own ineptitude, and years of not communicating with us as patients; and now needing to communicate with us just to justify “meaningful use” criteria for additional monies, sounds like a lot of malarkey to me. We know what will happen. Just as soon as you have your hands on this handout, it will be back to business as usual and communications will cease.

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