Physician Wake-up Call: The Patient Needs to be Heard

By Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer

MorganWhat happens when a 15-year-old patient speaks up about her doctors? Morgan Gleason declared, “I am the patient, and I need to be heard,” and she voiced her complaints publicly.

Even for a hospitalized teen, it wasn’t difficult to make a digital splash about how doctors should care for patients…and not just treat them.

Constructive criticism…

Watch Morgan’s videos and let us know what you think. Is this just a sleepy-teen-tantrum, or is this a reasonable voice about legitimate concerns about showing more “caring” in health care? Judge her issues for yourself, but from a doctor and hospital public relations perspective, it’s about—as Forbes says—“what ‘Patient Centered’ is and isn’t.”

Forbes contributor Dave deBronkart (ePatient Dave)­ points out, “Patient-centered care is a Big Thing in medicine today as new payment incentives emphasize patient satisfaction. But too often it’s still a mystery.”

Video clip thumbnail of Morgan in hospital bed

Click to watch

Without a script, and in less that two minutes, Morgan insightfully articulates several issues—and proposes alternatives—such as being awakened at 6:00 AM for the first of several doctors. Lack of sufficient sleep is part of the issue, but the resulting problem is that she—the patient—is less aware, less communicative, less engaged, and less able to actively participate in her care at the early hour.

In addition, the teenager feels marginalized when ignored in favor of doctors who try to talk to the parents without her—the patient—being involved in the conversation or having a voice in her own care. Admittedly, the parents are responsible, but as Morgan says, “I am the patient, and I need to be heard.”

In spite of her concerns, complaints and obvious upset, neither doctor nor hospital names are mentioned. To her credit, she takes the high road and presents her proactive voice is about healthcare and in the interest of better consideration for the patient. What’s more, her new website includes updates regarding her own experience and ideas.

Let us know what you think about her issues. What’s the best way to respond to online videos and comments?

The voice of the patient seems to be talking about ways to improve the healthcare delivery system as well as the patient-centered experience. Physicians, take note. More of this kind of online patient action is likely to appear regularly.

For related posts, see: Frontline of Doctor Marketing: Listen to the Voice of the Patient and Empowered Patients: Mad as Hell and Not Taking It Anymore.

Lonnie Hirsch

Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer at Healthcare Success
Stewart Gandolf, MBA, is Chief Executive Officer of Healthcare Success, one of the nation's leading healthcare and digital marketing agencies. Over the past 20 years, Stewart has marketed and consulted for over 1,000 healthcare clients, ranging from practices and hospitals to multi-billion dollar corporations. A frequent speaker, Stewart has shared his expertise at over 200 venues nationwide. As an author and expert resource, Stewart has also written for many leading industry publications, including the 21,000 subscriber Healthcare Success Insight blog. Stewart also co-authored, "Cash-Pay Healthcare: Start, Grow & Perfect Your Cash-Pay Healthcare Business." Stewart began his career with leading advertising agencies, including J. Walter Thompson, where he marketed Fortune 500 clients such as Wells Fargo and Bally's Total Fitness.

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