My work with peripheral neuropathy patients and incredible powerful social media communications with them has taken some very interesting twists and turns lately…
This has all caused me to take a real hard look at what really reforming health care should mean.
Take for example, the following communications I have received from patients in some on-line forums.
“In order for this to be an option in a state where you don’t have doctors trained in this, am I understanding that I would have to have my doctor talk with Dr. Hayes and co-ordinate therapy that way? Also, my neuropathies have been diagnosed as idiopathic peripheral neuropathy but are probably genetic as mom has same issue…I am on a plethora of meds and yet am wheelchair bound when out for any length of time because of the pain. Also, have had the Dellon Procedure with no help. Would appreciate any info you could offer….”
“I suffer from neuropathic pain in my feet and legs from a spinal cord tumor. Everything I read talks about peripheral Neuropathy from diabetes. I wondering if their are different kinds of neuropathy? And what kind I have to determine what kind of treatment I should look for. Anything will be helpful…”
“Hi all, I Live in …, 5 Years ago I was told to suffer about a Neuropathy, I feel pain on my face and my teeth…It’s like to have my face completely blocked..Anyone else has some symptoms as me?? ..I tried Gabapentin, Patiox, Laryxol ,and now I’m trying with Cimbalta …but without result. Thinking to stop taking pills. Any suggestions?
My neurologist always tells me my bloody values are ok..but still suffering..
Thanks for any help you can give me and sorry for my bad English…Hope someone understood…”
These are but a few of the communications I now receive daily from around the world.
I do my best to answer all of these inquires, mostly by messaging, though more and more patients from around the world are reaching out with phone calls about our work.
And these comments are only on one condition I have had the opportunity to share with doctors and patients during the last year.
Nonetheless a few months back, this really got me thinking.
What do patients really need from their doctors, nurses and physical therapists?
And I can tell you, more than anything else just a simple human connection.
The ability to ask questions. The ability to engage in meaningful conversations. The ability to have a frank discussion about treatment options, and when less treatment is better, the very best things they can do at home to help themselves recover.
Interestingly, when questions are answered, in my experience and I’m sure yours as well, the utilization of more expensive procedures can be reduced and sometimes eliminated.
All because the basic human need of being heard is met.
However, there is little if anything in the current system, which fosters, let alone allows enough of this very basic doctor-patient communication.
In many cases, it seems extended consultations with our patients are becoming a lost art. This is one reason many patients are increasingly turning to the Internet for their answers.
So, what can you do? I would suggest you start by making your practice, more powerful and effective in its communication with the outside world. Really go to great lengths to educate your patients in the community, through modern tools. Like content rich and friendly Social Media. Like Instant Patient Newsletter.
Offer services like telephone and e-mail Consultation services. And yes, in most cases you should be charging for these.
Because, in reality, it is these conversations which often lead both doctors and patients to the greatest treatment breakthroughs.
Videoconferencing and telemedicine are another very real option. Instant messaging is another very powerful tool, which currently is under utilized.
And what about converting your traditional education materials such as in office workshops to on-line events. If they are good, patients will readily share these with their friends and families. From one computer and cell phone to another!
All in the comfort of their home, or even anywhere else they choose.
Doctor, in my opinion this is a real healthcare reform. It has enormous benefits to you, your patients and community but only if you take the steps to learn and start implementing all these modern tools in your practice.
Really strive to make practice more user-friendly.
Go out of your way; use those little human touches combined with significant doses of effective multimedia technology.
And you’ll likely never have to worry about keeping your reception area filled.
When you ready to step up and learn to help these patients, just go HERE