Hello SOTGC community,
“Can we talk?” This famous tagline for Joan Rivers contains, I believe, an important key to effective doctor-patient relationships. Dialogue.
Thankfully, we’ve moved past the old model where doctors merely dictated instructions for the patient to follow, trusting in the infallible wisdom signified by the doctor’s white coat and black medicine bag.
At AmoraMED Institute, where I serve as medical director, it is our core principle that a patient’s health is always a collaboration — a co-creation, if you will — between that patient and his or her doctor. It is a patient-centered experience.
We encourage and put great effort into facilitating an ongoing dialogue. Everything from the patient’s long-term health goals to the most tangential-seeming thought or concern can be brought forward for its contributive value to the patient’s optimal health.
As a physician, I am not merely a medical provider; I am also a facilitator of healing. I endeavor daily to maintain an open heart and continually ask open-ended questions. While I am a board-certified rheumatologist, I would say that I have also become a specialist in listening. Listening is a fundamental principle to an impactful doctor-patient relationship. I find it vital not only to listen to the content of what the patient is saying, but also to hear how the person is saying it — if there are any underlying meanings. This helps me grasp more deeply an individual’s health needs and wants.
In my experience, the optimal way for the body to heal from a state of “dis-ease” is when both doctor and patient come together. When the patient enters the doctor-patient relationship with an intention for healing, an open-mindedness to explore treatment choices, and a willingness to allow the body to heal, the body is more receptive to the recommended changes. As the doctor steps into the facilitator role, engaging in open dialogue supported by empathy, compassion, and genuine care, the receptive healing process for the patient thus begins.
The skills of listening to the person and hearing what is being said on all levels, bringing the energy of empathy and compassion into the sacred space of the relationship, and having each party equally share in the desired goal, are all crucial to creating nurturing communication for health and healing.
This is modern medicine.
I’ll share with you in my next blog post how using this collaborative process helped a patient discover the root cause of her obesity issue, and how we designed a personalized, integrative approach to achieving her goal of weight loss.
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