As a consumer and provider of health care services I am not impressed with the level of service I see. I am disturbed by the lack of empathy and the poor efficiency of the system. Providing health care services can be a very stressful occupation, but if we have chosen to be participants we should put our best face forward everyday. The empathy and sympathy we show are major components in conjunction with efficiency and competence in providing the care that is required and that our patients deserve.
The system as currently constituted allows for wide variance in the quality of the service that is delivered. This is a problem that is often overlooked and under appreciated. We get distracted by the politics of our work environment and neglect to critically assess our function in it. I see providing great care as delivering the correct service in a timely manner. I do not consider giving the patient options as a service to them. Patients want us to tell them what the best choice is and why it is so.
Very few patients are equipped with the knowledge to make great choices. We need to refocus our discussion to providing the evidence that support our recommendations. We need to provide our patients with the option that the best evidence supports. When there is no known best option then we need to use our medical judgment and provide clear direction.
Discussing the best option is great, but only makes a difference if that service can be provided in a timely efficient manner. As a service providers I have the impression that many of us are not as concerned about the efficiency of the service provision. This lack of attention to the details of delivery is poor form on our part. We may think that providing the correct service is the important factor and we would be correct. However, providing the correct service is only as good as how timely that service is provided. We need to deliver quality service with empathy and efficiency.
The current system we have will never be able to provide this type of service delivery as long as providers are not engaged fully. We complain about the rules and regulations that hinder us, but they are not the problem. The problem is us. Instead of saying how can I get my job done, we have defaulted to how am I going to make them see that this rule is bad for patient care. This attitude is detrimental to patient outcomes.
I do not have hope for any improvement in the system. The irony is that the more we protest and passive aggressively resist the more change we induce. Providers are so lost in the echo chamber of passive resistance that we cannot see the good or the bad in the current system. We have given over control to the money changers while we are fighting for the crumbs. We are distracted from the essentials of our service. Let us be reminded that we will be patients too.