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Should Your Doctor Be More Sensitive?

By | October 13, 2015

Only half of all patients would describe their doctor as kind and compassionate. As patients become more selective in choosing their physicians, hospitals are encouraging doctors to add a little extra kindness to their bedside manner.

Every medical drama, from Grey’s Anatomy to House, features the same character: the gruff, no-nonsense doctor who makes rude quips to his or her patients, but always gets the job done. It’s entertaining to watch on television, but not so funny when it’s your own doctor behaving that way.

A recent study published in Health Affairs found that only slightly more than half of all hospital patients feel they experienced “compassionate care” during their most recent visit. To avoid losing patients — and funding — hospitals are now encouraging their doctors to be more sensitive, according to CNN.

Show A Little Tenderness

Until recently, patients were often locked into a particular set of doctors by their health insurance. If your doctor was rude or unkind to you, there wasn’t a lot you could do except find an expensive, out-of-network doctor. However, as patients expect more from their care, and as health insurance options diversify, patients have more freedom than ever to “shop around” for doctors that they really like.

Other studies have shown that when one doctor is rude to a colleague, it can affect their job performance, and sometimes even lead to worse care, as The Conversation reports. From both a financial and a health perspective, kindness is becoming almost as important as the care itself.

The Power of Love

On top of losing fed-up patients to competitors, hospitals may now lose funding based on patient feedback. A 2010 law dictates that Medicare payments to hospitals will be influenced by patient satisfaction surveys, as cms.gov explains. This means that hospitals with poor patient feedback may lose both the revenue from the patient and a portion of their federal funding.

In response, many hospitals are now creating incentives for doctors to be nicer, through educational programming or reward systems, as NCBI details. They offer courses in empathy or conduct observations and also coach doctors on how to listen more thoughtfully.

Some doctors have begun giving handwritten notes to patients and families in recovery. These steps have been largely successful, and hospitals are reporting higher patient satisfaction and better outcomes.

Love Don’t Cost A Thing

As many of us struggle to find adequate healthcare coverage (or any coverage at all) at an affordable cost, the last thing you want to worry about is a rude doctor. SingleCare helps you find the right doctor at the right price. You’ll be able to browse through a healthy selection of friendly local doctors and find out the price of your visit before you go. On average, SingleCare users are able to save 30-60% compared with what they’d pay without insurance.

You don’t have to put up with a Dr. House — find an affordable doctor who offers quality care without the attitude. With SingleCare, you won’t have to let a rude doctor keep you from the getting the care that you need.

(Main image credit: Alex Proimos/flickr)