Caring for “the Person” in a Primary Care Setting

Mar 05, 2017

“How many a man has dated a new era in his life from the reading of a book”

Henry David Thoreau
New England Transcendentalist

Caring for “the Person” in a Primary Care Setting

TISA Description of the Problem: With the tremendous time constraints of a contemporary primary care clinic in the age of managed care, it is sometimes difficult to focus upon our caring for our patients as individuals. Both the clinician and the patient can become swamped by the insurance information, time constraints, and paperwork pressures so typical of today’s practice. The following tip by Jack Weinblatt, M.D. is a great way to circumvent this problem.

Tip: When I dictate my notes after a patient visit, I always try to dictate something that is currently personally relevant to either the patient or his or her family. Despite being extremely busy, such a note reminds me, at the patient’s next visit, of a topic that is both personal and important to the patient. I frequently begin my next clinic visit with a reference to this anecdotal material, which seems to be a nice way to both foster my alliance and my understanding of the unique individual who lies beneath the disease and the symptoms.

TISA Follow-up: This month’s tip is simple yet powerful. It not only serves to enhance the alliance, it also reminds the patient that the primary care clinician is interested in psychological and personal aspects of care. This may increase the likelihood of the patient sharing sensitive material – marital problems, financial stresses, domestic violence, suicidal ideation – in future sessions.

Tip provided by:

Jack Weinblatt, M.D.
Temple, Texas

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