A surgery patient says..

I had an operation six months ago and had a follow up soon afterwards to check on the wound and how I was feeling. Then the other day went back for a six month check. The doctor asked me how I was and I said I felt very well. He did a very cursory physical examination and told me everything seems fine and that was that for another 6 months. 

I had spent an hour getting to the hospital and hour going home again and an hour waiting to be seen and five minutes with the doctor and felt the whole exercise was unsatisfactory and pointless.

What might be an alternative? Perhaps patients could be given a list of symptoms which might be of concern and told if you have any of these to make an appointment; maybe they could be asked to call in to the doctor at a specified time or could receive a letter after say six months to say we will see you but if you feel well and have no pain then no need to come along.

As for me I would have happily answered an email, a phone call or a letter to say I had no symptoms rather than spend several hours having an unsatisfactory appointment. 


 A doctor says..

Patients I know quite often leave me an email now about some problems with a drug etc and I give them advice back by email. I usually print this off and put it it their charts.

This is replacing phone calls which are very time specific. Emails can be replied to in a reasonable time. There is always the phone if urgent.

Sometimes a patient will be overseas, interstate or in the country many hours away even by air. The email has changed this.  I live in a state of nearly 2 millions square km. They also have my websites which contain things they can download. 

So email and online services have become an integral part of my practice but is not overwhelming. It has made me more accessible and my practice of medicine safer (at least I believe). 

 © 2010, HITECH MIS Pvt Ltd, 1416 Sadashiv Peth, Pune 411 030, India.

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