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Patient Experience: Why Social Media beats Bed Side Manner

My doctor just got a new out-of-state gig and I’m going to miss him.

Yet when I think about how much time we actually spent together over the last five years, it doesn’t add up to much. Maybe ten minutes every two or three times a year. But who’s counting when you have social media, right?

My doctor is fond of using email and LinkedIn. On those platforms he isn’t limited by time, and we can talk about a bunch of stuff…my life, hopes and dreams and so on. In fact it’s through our online encounters that I’ve come to know and like him. As a patient I’ve enjoyed the support, conversations and entire experience these encounters have provided. I can only hope the next one will be just as ‘social’.

So here’s what I’d say to my next doctor…

I know we won’t see each other much. I won’t even mind too much if you seem a bit rushed, grumpy or impersonal…I understand how your world works.

House-bedside manner

But please understand how my world works.

A positive experience with you is key though I know it won’t be achieved in a 10-minute appointment. All I need to know is that you care about my problems. Perhaps an email from you every now and then might do the trick. It’ll make me feel like we’re connected somehow.

I’d like it too if we could connect on Facebook or on your blog. These are the places where I hang out and your being there gets my attention and tells me that you’re interested in getting to know me. That experience is really important to me.

So if we can’t spend much face time together, which I completely understand, let’s make up for that time online where we can chat a little longer and you’re not watching the clock.

What do you say?

 Your Turn

Are you a physician interested in improving your patient’s experience? Do you think social media might help?

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