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Saturday, November 14, 2009

He doesn't call, he doesn't write: Patient Family Advisory Councils for medical groups

I got an automatic phone call from my pharmacy the other day, telling me that my prescription was ready for pick-up. And an automatic phone call from our temple president about upcoming events I might want to participate in.

But during the current H1N1 scare, I haven't received an email from my doctor telling me what to do. He doesn't call, he doesn't write – does he care about me? And my daughter hasn't received an email or pro-active call from her pediatrician about it either. Why not?

There are many reasons; perhaps one of them is so obvious that no one sees it: No one told them to. No consumer advisory group said, "Doctor, in this day and age of free email, where the vast majority of your patients have an email address, it's time for you to advise them on vaccinations, prevention and treatment for H1N1 by email." Indeed, that would probably save a lot of time and hassle for the doctors' administrative staff, who wouldn't need to explain the same information for the thousandth time.

Hospitals have made many innovative changes as a result of suggestions by their patient/family advisory councils. We should encourage medical group practices to form advisory councils and hear their ideas. The time they save could be their own.

Advice: Write a note about this to your doctor and ask the doctor's office manager to make a suggestion box and put your note in it.

Read a patient/family advisory council story.

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