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Empathy: Your Family Doctor’s Best Medicine

Ever feel like you’re just a number?

Many places treat you just like a number – like a “sale” – no matter how long you’ve done business with them (or how much).

But it shouldn’t be that way with your family doctors.

The best family medical practices never treat you like a number, or like a simple commercial transaction.

They treat you like… well, like family!

That’s because your family doctors get to know you.  They know what makes you “tick,” and they’re very well-aware that you are NOT at your best most of the time you’re with them.

They make you better by treating you, medically… but they also make you feel better by treating you nicely.

Your family medical practitioner focuses on building a true relationship.  On becoming a professional you know you can trust.

Almost like family.

When you visit your family medical practice, you should always feel welcome, and feel like you’re being treated with the kind of empathy you don’t often get from other businesses.

The Best Family Doctors Are Really Good Listeners…

Listening (and listening well) is the key to empathy.  It’s the first step in finding the common ground that provides the basis for real empathy, so the best family doctors also tend to be the best listeners.

Does your family doctor take the time to ask questions, not just about your current ailment, but about you?  And does he or she really listen to your answers, and respond with their own perspective and experience?

One of the best ways to tell if a person is sincerely expressing empathy is to hear them tell you not just that they “know how you feel,” but to prove it by telling you why they think they know something about what’s going on with you.

Maybe your family doctor has had the same illness you have… or maybe he or she has kids the same age as yours, or a similar daily commute, or the same hobbies.

You’ll never know unless they ask about you – not just your symptoms – and truly listen well to the way you respond.

… And They Identify With The Patient, Not Just The Ailment

Maybe you’ve had an experience with a medical provider who didn’t really connect with you as a person, but only with your symptoms, your illness, or your injury.

Great family doctors aren’t like that.

While a busy young doctor at a large institution might only seem interested in “talking to your sickness,” a good family doctor is more interested in talking with you.

When your family doctors develop that kind of relationship with you, you naturally feel more inclined to share with them details another doctor might have missed… because another doctor wouldn’t have asked about it, and might have made you feel as though you should confine your responses to direct answers to their medical questions.

The next time you visit your family doctor, check for signs that they really care about you.  After all, as the old saying goes, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”  Is your doctor trying too hard to “keep things professional” by sticking to facts, and avoiding any personal involvement?

That’s not empathy.  And that’s not how the best family doctors operate.

The best doctors know that medical practice should be professional, but that it’s always personal.  And they know their treatment of their patients should always be both.

The best family doctors really care about their patients.  And it shows.  Invite your family medical practitioner to a more personal, empathy-driven relationship, and you’ll get better treatment.  After all, the best doctors always put the “care” in health care.

Your family doctors develop the right relationship with the members of your family, they’re in a position to know the kind of “insider information” that can really help keep you all healthy.

They say “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”… and an ounce of that insider information can be worth many pounds of the kind of standard, read-your-chart knowledge upon which a doctor who’s really a stranger would have to rely.

Family practitioners know that it’s far better to prevent a health problem than to treat one… because the fastest recovery is from a problem you never get in the first place!

You can imagine how relationship-focused family doctors would get to know you so well they’d sometimes be able to anticipate risks and threats to your health before problems arise.

That is the sort of magic the old country doctor used to wield, if the black-and-white movies are to be believed.

And it isn’t magic.

Today’s family doctors put in the time and effort to really get to know you, and they stay focused on building the sort of relationship that maximizes their ability to keep you lively… through every stage of your life.

Let your health care be a family thing.  The healthiest bodies usually house the sharpest minds and the happiest spirits.  To keep yourself at your sharpest, healthiest, and happiest, let a family doctor (or team) take care of your family.  Doesn’t that sound better than “take a number?”

What do you think?

4 points
Enthusiast

Written by Aya Starr

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