Exceptional Care, What Is It and How Do I Know If I’m Getting It?

By | May 1, 2011

In my opinion judging medical care should be like dealing with a fine restaurant. Good restaurants are always busy, but the best restaurants always save an extra table for special circumstances.

As a consultant I see patients from a wide variety of primary care physicians and other specialists. I also see a wide disparity in the level of basic care these patients have received prior to seeing me. What continues to surprise me is the number of different personal styles that produce excellent care and how often cost is not a major factor. Over the next several days I will share some of my thoughts with you and hopefully give you a couple of simple tests to tell whether you are getting the care you pay for.

The first and most important criteria of excellent care is access. The best care in the world that you cannot get is meaningless. Starting with the first phone call or Email, how long does it take to get a meaningful response. A phone that rings and rings, without being answered is always a bad sign. Doctors who ignore this simplest level of service, in my experience, often neglect many other determinants of good care.

Even more important than first phone call is the time to the first visit. MDVIP programs have solved this problem for the lucky few that can afford it, but this is like belonging to an exclusive supper club. What happens to everyone else or if you need to see a specialist? In my opinion this should be like dealing with a first rate restaurant. Good restaurants are always busy, but the best restaurants, like the best hotels always save an extra table or room for special circumstances.

In medical terms, it is a question of dealing with emergencies and add-ons. Our schedule at Schlesinger Pain Centers is usually packed, but my staff and I know that there will be, on average, three emergent or at least urgent phone calls a day. My staff and I have friends, families and loved ones, but these people need to be seen, so we plan for them. If on any given day no unexpected disasters strike, we all get to catch up on paper work or go home a little early. On the other hand if a busload of senior citizens on a day trip gets rear ended by a semi – well I guess we’ll all have to stay a little late. It really is as simple as that!

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