Slow Doc

Have you ever felt rushed in a medical appointment?

Do you ever feel that the rush to efficiency is leaving your humanity behind?

If so you will appreciate our initiative to slow down the medical office visit.

I would like to introduce you to the Slow Doc and the Slow Doc Initiative.

A Slow Doc is the one that is still at the clinic on Friday afternoon after everyone else has left. Often the Slow Doc works with a Slow Nurse. A Slow Doc often sees fewer patients and can run behind schedule in a conventional clinic setting. A Slow Doc cannot see 30 patients a day.

Quality in Healthcare

This is a fanciful story but it is a starting place for a grass roots discussion about quality in healthcare. The usual quality measure supported by industry leaders are: wait time to see a physician, application of recommended schedules for preventive care, use of generic medications, hospital day management and timely record completion. You can see that most of these measures have to do with the administration, funding and delivery of care rather than the quality of the relationship between the patient and the physician.

True Healing

I would propose that true healing occurs in relationship. The increased emphasis on efficiency actually causes inefficiency. If you start from a false premise, making it bigger, better and more efficient will not necessarily get you where you want to go. So, let us go back to first principles. I would propose that healing occurs in relationship, and we need to look to the systems that support that relationship. In my experience, the main system process that supports relationship is time.

So you, the patient are interested in healing. This happens in the relationship between you and the physician. To have a relationship, you need to know the other person and that takes time. Relationship is the primary healing vehicle, but it is not something that lends itself to easy measurement. Therefore, it is not measured.

If you know your patient and take time to review symptoms and options, you usually order fewer labs and tests. If you do not know the patient and have no history, you order many more tests to be sure that you are not missing a significant problem. If you have a good relationship and if the patient takes an informed partnership role it is possible to address problems as they arise and before they escalate. This is the essence of early intervention and prevention. I would also propose that this will bring down the cost of health care significantly. If you pay a bit forward, you will have savings in the long run.

I offer my own medical practice as a living example of the Slow Doc philosophy. Go slow, take your time and ultimately it will be more cost effective. I would welcome your thoughts and ideas. You can mail me at DrTaylor@womanswellspring.com

“Slow and easy, gets the job done”– Celtic proverb