More Mind The Gap Magic

Fear not, Stephen Wilkins’ new blog post could be construed as Luddite, but we’re totally on his side. He was prompted to write after Lloyd Dean, president and CEO of the San Francisco-based healthcare system, Dignity Health, announced something called the Dignity Health and Box Patient Education App Challenge. Dean is quoted in the announcement as saying:

“We recognize the immense potential that (health information) technology has to enhance our patients’ care and overall experience.”

Wilkins then asks, “Immense potential compared to what?”

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Patient-Centered Communication Skills Correlate With High Productivity And Satisfaction Scores

People are forever telling Stephen Wilkins that he’s wasting his time talking to providers about the need to improve their patient communication skills. Here’s what the naysayers typically cite:

  1. Physicians usually think they’re good communicators already
  2. There’s no time to talk to patients
  3. Physicians aren’t paid to talk

Lucky for you, Wilkins easily debunks all three of these myths in his new blog post on Mind The Gap. It’s a great read, mostly because he builds a strong case for why patient-doctor communication is NOT a zero-sum game. He cites a recent publication suggesting that providers can in fact be productive while at the same time creating a satisfying patient experience.


Also included is a comparison of doctor scores from this study. Certain attributes are emphasized in the group that more successfully communicates, including a focus on teaching and explanations. That reminds us, why do we value the practice of direct care? At the core, it’s time. Teaching takes time, no matter how many self-help books we read or productivity apps we download.

Think of the fee-for-service physician who demanded 30 minutes with every patient (to the chagrin of her employer) and ourselves, who get to spend 45 minutes with every patient who comes in for a check-up. Learning how to communicate with patients is gaining the ability to teach your patients. And teaching them is key to them leaving your office with the ability to better take care of themselves. In essence, this is you being productive and more fully satisfying your patients.

Posted by: AtlasMD

September 23, 2013

A Patient Portal To Nowhere

We freaking love Stephen Wilkins over at Mind The Gap. You get a perspective we don’t find as often on the annals of the Web, doctors and healthcare providers sharing their experiences seeing another doctor. Recently, Stephen was given his first and very own patient portal, a way to “take an active role in his healthcare.” His excitement was shortlived, though, since the first email he received was kind of a huge letdown — he had no access to his doctor, no access to his records, and when he thought about it, he was even a bit insulted. Wasn’t going to the doctor, exercising, taking his meds, etc., all part of an active role in his healthcare? This patient portal offered nothing active, except emailing nurses and staff instead of his doctor.


Yes, healthcare needs to take advantage of the digital tools at our disposal. But doctors, let’s not insult our patient’s intelligence. Perhaps we don’t even need to directly engage them so much as make ourselves available, helpful and NOT disengaging.

Doctors, Let’s Not Forget That Patients Are People

Doctors, Let’s Not Forget That Patients Are People

Have you checked out Mind The Gap yet? It’s a blog written by Stephen Wilkins, MPH. He’s interested in physician-patient communication that’s both personal and professional. His most recent post (Via Health Works Collective) addresses the issue of relevancy, something that you might immediately think, that? Oh, I know that. But the truth is, if you’ve been a healthcare professional running through what Michael Tetreault called the “hamster wheel” then you might have developed some bad communication habits.

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