Doctors need to take customer service seriously for patient-centred care to work

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  • Cindy Backen says:

    The fact that we are still mentioning patient-centred care means that it still is not happening yet.

    • Paul Conte says:

      It would be easier to perform “patient centred” care (whatever that means) if I didn’t have to deal with 5 problems per visit with a waiting room full of 30 people; each of whom want 15-20 minutes though 15-20 patients per hour are showing up at my door. If I had three patients per hour, I would come in with a fresh beverage of choice for the patient. Of course, I would also be bankrupt because the pay per visit is so miniscule.

  • Jennifer Dee says:

    This is a difficult and inflammatory subject for both patient and doctor. I find that often even when a Doc is speaking with you that their mind has already moved on to the next “case”. If proper attention to the patient is paid and a thorough physical done it can often reveal surprising and interesting observations that assist medical experts in determining the appropriate level of care. Diagnostics and technology are in no way a replacement for the human evaluation.

    Overbooked clinics are now the norm not the exception. If we had stats on the amount of work time missed by people waiting to see their health care provider I am sure that it would outstrip the man hours lost to labour unrest and strike activity. What makes this ok? What are the consequences of complaining about prolonged waits in clinics? Does a complaint actually seem like anything more that an annoyance from a troublesome patient?

    Respect, excellent communication and cooperation are all that is required to improve the overall health care experience for those in Ontario. Electronic health records that are universally accessible and one electronic systems are long overdue. It will take public engagement and courage to move this issue forward in light of the last electronic health record debacle. It is time to insist that all care providers in Ontario use one information and record management system with a consistent format. In fact the entire country could use this model.

    Minor or even major improvements to the booking system will in no way solve the issue of long waits
    and demand is great and we have limited resources. If you are diabetic and booked into a clinic, always take food and a drink with you as well as any medications you may need. It is likely to remain a long wait.


Paul Taylor


Paul Taylor is a health journalist and former Patient Navigation Advisor at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, where he provided advice and answered questions from patients and their families. Paul will continue to write occasional columns for Healthy Debate.

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