Posted by: AtlasMD

June 17, 2016

How to be the Best Problem Solver Your Patients Have Ever Worked With.


As a DPC provider, you wear a lot of hats. You’re the doc, sure. But sometimes you’re also the nurse, pharma, scheduler, accountant, and cleaning person. All important. All over the board. So what’s the single most important thing you do? Solve your patients’ problems. It’s probably easier than you think.

How to be the Best Problem Solver Your Patients Have Ever Worked With.

Patients come see you for all sorts of things. Just when you think you’ve heard it all, you’re totally perplexed by the reason one of your patients sits in your exam room. It’s commentary you thought only existed on that Reddit thread about what should be considered medical common knowledge. (You’re searching for it now, aren’t you?)

You are, by trade, a problem solver. Honestly, when was the last time you got an email from your patient saying, “Hey doc! I feel amazing. Have some time today to chat about it?” Your patients have a lot going on in their lives, and they rely on you to be their problem solver. They rely on you to confirm their sneaking suspicion (ahem, Google) is right and their child’s skin condition is, in fact, eczema (and treatable!). Alternatively, they lean on you to advise them to stay far, far away from the internet because one minor headache doesn’t mean brain aneurism.

Okay, in all seriousness (and because we feel a little guilty for laughing at the expense of our patients!), in a world where people are drug through the mud to attain and maintain their health, you have to be their voice of reason – and that means doing one thing very, very well.


It’s that simple. And it’s the single most important thing you can do to be the best problem solver your patients have ever worked with. They might be distressed about their condition. They might be worried about an impending diagnosis. They might be unaware a problem even exists. They might be in pain, literally. They might be confused about their symptoms. Problems come in all shapes and sizes, but no matter how they’re feeling about their health, the important thing is to get them talking so you can listen very carefully. Because the answer to your patients’ problem lies right there in between the complaint and side note anecdote of what they did last weekend.

Hopefully you’re not rushing through your day as a DPC doc (your business model is set up to give you the gift of time, after all). But if you happen to be feeling the burden of wearing all those hats at the moment, stop for a minute and remember the only thing you have to do to keep patients coming through the door is… listen. Your incredibly well-trained and compassionate mind will take over from there. Problem, solved.

The Immeasurable Value Of Direct Care — Time To Listen


– Stephen Cocksedge, Listening as Work in Primary Care

That’s worth repeating: 85% of diagnoses can be made just by listening to the patient.

It’s clear cut: When doctors do not have enough time to listen the result is that they do not listen.

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