The adage “the riches are in the niches” no longer seems to hold true. (There are few approaches that haven’t become commodities anyway anymore.) And people have short attention spans. If you don’t provide a commodity, they’ll just be confused. They may not find you because they don’t know what they’re looking for, or they don’t know what they should be looking for, or they don’t know that you provide something they are looking for or could use.
An increasing number of people are developing autoimmune disease. And an increasing number of people are googling their symptoms. Invariably, they’ll come across what’s known as the “Th1/Th2” system. This system itself asks a question: which one are you–Th1 or Th2?
They came seemingly out of nowhere. And suddenly, they were all the rage, especially among patients, who wanted to be sure I had watched and listened to every last one of them. These summits are a double-edged sword – they could be a potential godsend, or a potential serious obstacle. They can make or break the doctor-patient partnership, and/or a patient’s health.
“Don’t do it,” our school had said, over and over again. “Don’t treat friends and family. Refer them out. Otherwise you’re just asking for trouble.”
I understood the basic message. It could be summed up as a Boundary Issue. As in, friends and family members tend not to have any. Or at least, they’re less likely to consider them (boundaries, I mean).
Family members remember when you were in diapers, mumbling in baby talk. Friends remember when you wouldn’t share the sky-blue crayon…or perhaps they remember you drunk-dialing your ex. Either way, the dual relationships can become…awkward.
Welcome to the sixth and final installment of this post series on screening potential new (or possibly already-existing) patients.
In previous posts in this series, I’ve covered various potential “orange/red flags” to watch out for when evaluating new or existing patients in your practice, if for no other reason than to have prior notice that they exist, so that you as a doctor can take whatever precautions you feel might be necessary, ranging from a simple “okay, that’s good to know” to “refer them to a colleague–now”, or anything in between.
Today, I’m going to cover a variety-pack of situations or patient types that I consider to be on the latter end of that response spectrum – the “refer them out–now”. Grab some popcorn and enjoy.
Here we are, in the fifth installment of a post series about screening patients. All of my previous disclaimers still apply; I’m not trying to be judgmental or exclusionary, nor am I trying to be mean. Doctors and patients alike are human beings, subject to error and imperfection, and I would be lying if I said emotions never came into play.
Today’s topic involves patients involved in competing interests, the type that run the risk of working against themselves–and the care that you (talking to the doctors among us) are trying to provide.
This is Part 4 of a multi-part post series on various types of potential new patients to screen for, the characteristics of these types, and the importance of screening for them, if for no other reason than to have prior notice regarding what you (as a doctor) could be facing when working with them.
This post series is indeed intended for doctors, although I’m putting it out in the open, which means that anyone could read it. Some of the people (doctors or patients alike) who come across this post series could start thinking to themselves, “what a judgmental prick.” But I promise that’s not my intent, nor is it the attitude I take.