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Sorry Works! Blog

Making Disclosure A Reality For Healthcare Organizations 

Patient-Doctor Partnership Pact

Last week I gave a presentation on disclosure on behalf of a company for which I had already trained their docs on empathy and apology.   So, there were many familiar faces in the crowd.  Now, disclosure is a message that needs to be reviewed and repeated to make it standard practice in medicine, but I couldn't give my "normal" talk lest I put the audience to sleep.  So, instead, I talked about the challenges and issues we are seeing across the country with disclosure, including a review of different scenarios.  The presentation was well-received. One of the challenges that I discussed was the need to educate patients and families about disclosure.  You can have the most wonderful disclosure program in the country, but sometimes post-event the patient won't return to your practice and a family won't answer the phone.  What do you do?  Be persistent to a point, but also look up stream.  Remember, disclosure is about being pro-active and fixing problems before they get out of hand.  Part of this new "pro-active" nature we are teaching includes looking at the relationships built with consumers pre-event, including when relationships are first being formed.   New patients and families are used to being flooded with questionnaires and other paperwork, sometimes including documents about arbitration and don't say mean things about the practice on Social Media. I think these documents - at best - are clumsy, but in a worse case they can prohibit trust-building between doctors and their patients.  Instead of trying to convince people to sign away their rights, why not try this instead?   This is a "Patient-Doctor Partnership Pact" that talks about the relationship you want to form that includes the patient (and family) coming back to you with any complaints or problems.  Also discusses the need for patients to follow orders, and always call with any questions, problems, or concerns.  I think this is a much more effective and authentic way to launch a relationship, and will greatly enhance your disclosure program.  See what you think and feel free to alter or change any way you wish.

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