ROCKVILLE CENTRE, NY–(Marketwired – Oct 1, 2013) – Research shows patients with more personal relationships with their physicians are healthier and have better outcomes1. The problem today is that it’s becoming more difficult to build a relationship with a physician who has the time to offer that level or care.
Next to personal finances, the most frequently cited factors that keep patients from scheduling important prevention and wellness appointments with their physicians are:
1. The time involved. (Today the average office visit is between 8 to 12 minutes; the average wait time is 20 minutes; and the average time to secure a routine office visit can be up to 10 days). Busy working adults note they have little time or patience for such delays.
2. The depersonalization of medicine. Patients often say they are uncomfortable discussing healthcare needs with a provider they don’t know and who doesn’t know them as a person or who makes them feel uncomfortable. Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) patients, older patients or those who have multiple chronic illnesses often note they feel alienated in most healthcare settings.
Perhaps more than most physicians, Thomas S. Ziering, MD, a board-certified family physician in Bernardsville, N.J., understands the importance of delivering patient-centered, empathetic care.
A former HIV/AIDS clinical researcher, Ziering began operating a solo physician practice in Bernardsville, NJ, in 1992. At the time, he was one of the first openly gay physicians in the state. His experiences as a young gay professional and physician helped him to recognize how important it is for patients and physicians to have relationships based on trust and familiarity.
“There is nothing more difficult for a patient than going to a provider who dismisses or belittles you,” notes Ziering. “This can happen to LGBT patients or those who or older or just different in some way. If your physician doesn’t respect and have genuine compassion for you, it will be difficult for you as a patient to share information that will lead to disease prevention and better health.”
To help patients find physicians committed to having strong professional relationships with their patients, Ziering offers five simple tips.
1. Do your research. While there are many online sites that provide physician rankings — and these can be a good start — try to speak with patients of physicians you are considering. They know best and can provide an accurate assessment of a physician’s strengths, skills, and manner.
2. Don’t be afraid to set up a get acquainted meeting with a physician. Just as you would with any other professional — it’s important to meet your physician to see if you connect with him or her. Make sure to check out the surroundings and the office staff as they will be an important part of your experience as well.
3. Seek out physicians committed to providing you the time needed to fully discuss your health needs and concerns. Dr. Ziering offers the innovative hybrid concierge program from Concierge Choice Physicians, meaning he can offer longer appointment times and even direct after-hours contact information to many of his patients, ensuring better communication and a strong relationship.
4. Look for a physician who is compassionate, accepting and makes you feel comfortable. Whether an LGBT patient who has felt disenfranchised in the past, or an older patient who feels pushed aside, look for physicians who show they are accepting and understanding of all patients and who will make you feel comfortable discussing any healthcare need.
5. Find someone who will be there when you need him or her. Illnesses or health questions don’t always happen Monday – Friday from 9 to 5. While physicians often offer nurse advice lines, or an “on call” physician, patients with problems don’t want to take the time to re-explain an illness to a stranger, or someone they don’t trust. For a modest fee — averaging about $160/month, concierge physicians provide after-hours access and many even make house calls if needed.
For more information on the Hybrid Concierge program created by Concierge Choice Physicians, please visit www.choice.md .
About Concierge Choice Physicians
Concierge Choice Physicians™ is a private company headquartered in Rockville Centre, N.Y. Concierge Choice Physicians offers a hybrid medical practice option so that doctors can provide both traditional and concierge-style medicine within a single practice. The company works with medical practices in 20 states including Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and Washington D.C. For more information, visit www.choice.md or call 877-888-5590.