Will Doctor As Friend Impact Outcomes?

I was at my daughter’s DARE graduation today. [I didn’t realize there was such a thing until recently.] One of the comments that the officer made to the parents was to be a parent not a friend to your kids. I agree that this is important, but of course, my mind immediately drifted to how does that apply to healthcare.

As we think about measuring physician or provider satisfaction, does this factor in? If the provider attempts to become a “friend” with the patient, will that improve outcomes or will that detract from their ability to be the “authority”? It’s an interesting question for which I don’t know the answer.

On the one hand, I would imagine that a patient is more likely to ask questions and engage in a health dialogue with a “friend” but are they more likely to take action?

My impression is that this is where there is a blended approach needed where the provider has to be an authority and provide the patient with strict recommendations (e.g., you’re fat and going to die if you don’t do something different), but they have to be approachable so that the patient is comfortable. [If you’ve ever watched The Biggest Loser, you can see that their physician seems to play this role by being engaged with the patients over time.]

But, this could impact physician reviews which simply makes it more important to take those with a grain of salt. Just like schools or companies, one that works for someone may not work for someone else. We are all individuals and different.

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