It sounds like everyday conversation with my patients regarding various choices of therapeutic options including medications for various medical conditions, procedures or surgeries. The discussion that usually takes place about the established guidelines regarding the specific issue with its indications,safety profile explaining side effects which could be potentially experienced as well as the expected benefits of being complaint with intake of this medication.
After all, a well informed patient is much more likely to be complaint with diet, exercise, intake of medications at the prescribed times and the route of administration. He or she will have better outcome with less cost. The opposite is true as well , patients who do not take charge of their health are mostly non complaint with more adverse clinical outcome which is obviously very costly as well
Simply, patient engagement is is a key to better healthcare and can make a big difference from being stable and doing well medically to going back to hospital with its subsequent high cost . So, patients are encouraged to shop for good Doctors, good Hospitals and Surgery Centers to compare Services, prices and Customer Service because they are the customers and without them , there will be no healthcare industry.
So, This is how it should work, doctors will share their expertise and knowledge with their patients informing them about what needs to be done ( proper nutrition, life-style changes,such as stop smoking and avoid excessive drinking, regular exercise and take medications when indicated. Certainly, patients have to do their homework for the plan of care to work. This is why ( Direct Care Medicine or Concierge Medicine) is the best way to achieve the desired health goals, spend the needed time without rushing patients, answer their questions and give them reassurance and psychological support which they need as well.
I found throughout my medical career if you show your patients genuine concern about their health, patients can feel and appreciate that concern and respond in a very positive way. For example, some patients have been smoking for 1-2 packs per day for 40-50 years as I never give up on any one and take the time to explain the devastating health effects due to smoking and its associated cost. After a candid conversation with the patients, we had as high as 99% success rate in getting people to quit smoking and stay off smoking.
Those patients when seen in follow up visits feel so good about their accomplishment and show desire to share their experience with others. Technology can play an important role ( for example sending reminders ) to patients to review their Medical Notes( Open Notes) which helped patient engagement, compliance and outcome.
With Direct Care Medicine, there is more time spent on actual patient care rather than Computer care checking many boxes to justify payments. Thus empowering patients to be active participants in their care and encourage open communications channels with the healthcare team through technology with Tele Medicine will certainly lead to achieving the goal of better healthcare delivery with less cost !