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In his debut blog, Arun C. Gulani, MD, recalls the great power of what ophthalmologists can really do for their patients.
Editor’s Note: Welcome to “Eye Catching: Let's Chat,” a blog series featuring contributions from members of the ophthalmic community. These blogs will be an opportunity for ophthalmic bloggers to engage with readers with about a topic that is top of mind, whether it is practice management, experiences with patients, the industry, medicine in general, or healthcare reform. The series continues with this blog by Arun C. Gulani, MD, founding director and chief surgeon of Gulani Vision Institute, Jacksonville, FL. The views expressed in these blogs are those of their respective contributors and do not represent the views of Ophthalmology Times or UBM Advanstar.
In today's day and age, patient care and outcomes are measured as "data analysis," a doctor’s compassion measured in terms of "chair time," and practice success in terms of "satisfaction surveys" most often induced by Starbucks gift cards.
However, this burdens and confuses the patient-doctor relationships leading intelligent eye-care providers to seek consultants to teach them what, in fact, are the very basics of simple human relations.
I do believe it is a privilege to be entrusted with the most precious senses of a patient (eyes), in that we must try to take them to the best vision with all the available techniques and technologies of the modern times in tailoring each procedure to each patient individually, as opposed to lining them up on a conveyer belt subjected to cookie-cutter procedures with mediocre outcomes, even if that may be within the acceptable standards of care.
If every eye surgeon could only look under the drape in surgery where the patient lies still, fearful of the surgery no matter how confident he or she pretended to be on the outside, it becomes extremely clear that eye surgery is a very delicate procedure with an extremely high value in affecting the patient's life.
In my practice, I see this every day and feel the empathy (different from the word "sympathy" which means to feel sorry for somebody. Empathy means feeling exactly what they feel or being in their shoes (if you may) which each patient will reciprocate as he or she see your genuine desire to help.
Instead of incentivizing patients or staff, involve them in their own surgical planning, in the process of their surgery, and then the celebration of their outcomes. It gives me immense pleasure to see the patients proceeding from poor vision to excellent vision and all our hard work paying off in their smiles, which in inevitably then followed by their almost evangelical outlook as they cannot wait to spread the word.
We all can control our destiny by creating an environment of high-tech surgery, yet a high-touch-not only making a difference in the lives of our patients, but also our own.