– It is more difficult these days.

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Recently I had to choose a new primary care physician. I’m at the age now where the doctors I have used in the past are either retiring or passing away. Over time, we develop a bond with our doctors, particularly our primary care physicians, but this seems to be getting more difficult these days.

Through the years, my old physicians and I got to know each other well. We spoke on a first name basis, knew about our families, and enjoyed pleasantries. For example, it wasn’t unusual for me to share a joke or to discuss politics (as they knew of my writing background). I would also offer advice on systems and technology subjects from time to time, and listen to them patiently gripe about the flaws in their systems, particularly the bureaucracy as mandated by the government. The point is, we knew each other. I recently met an old doctor friend who gave me an eye test; we ended up talking about her days as a Girl Scout leader, and mine as a baseball/softball coach. We were both proud of our kids in these groups, particularly now they are grown up and doing well.

If you had a medical problem or question, you would pick up the phone and talk with your doctor, not his/her assistant or nurse. Not so anymore. Now you have to use their Internet portals to pose a question, which usually goes unanswered unless a canned answer will suffice. Nor do I want an “app” to do the same. Sorry, but No. These technical devices are killing personal medicine. I would much rather have a physician who knows enough about me to make an accurate diagnosis, not a machine.

There is no doubt, today’s young doctors know a lot about medicine, but unfortunately less about their patients, making them seem more jaded and insensitive, and less trustworthy. Maybe younger patients today can accept these technology driven doctors, but the older patients want more personalized attention.

It’s actually quite simple, “it takes two to Tango.” Both the doctor and the patient have to try and understand each other; one to listen and diagnose symptoms, and the other to be able to articulate their symptoms in a way the doctor can understand. Knowing each other makes the visit easy on each other, and produces a mutually satisfactory solution, what is known as a “Win-Win” situation. Having a good rapport between both parties builds confidence and trust, which is perhaps the hardest thing to achieve in a doctor/patient relationship.

Another item that is a bit unnerving with new doctors, is the reams of paperwork required before the physician will even talk to you. First, the staff starts with a strip search of all of your cards for ID, insurance, and credit. After making multiple copies, you’re still not sure who is using them as they ask to see them on every visit. As to the forms, I actually don’t mind the clipboard and paperwork but I take exception to the new computer tablets they use to “expedite” the process. In reality, this is a joke as it is written by idiot programmers who have no concept of “user friendly.” In fact, “user nasty” is perhaps a more apt description. Not only are the forms harder to follow, they make it next to impossible to correct a mistake. Unfortunately, this is typical for today, be it in the doctor’s office or elsewhere.

Then there is the matter of the endless number of e-mails and text messages from the doctor’s office reminding me of my appointment. Talk about nagging! In the old days, you made an appointment and you updated your calendar. What’s the big deal? Okay, they might send you a post card a week before your appointment to remind you. I can accept this, but I cannot accept the dozens of obnoxious electronic reminders. I’m to the point now I simply don’t pay attention to them and block as many as I can.

As as aside, in a recent text message on my phone, the doctor’s office asked me to respond if I was coming to the appointment, Y (Yes) or N (No). I drove the program crazy by entering the Greek Pi symbol (π) instead. Two can play this game.

I have also found I am visiting more and more doctors these days, not because I have any serious medical conditions, but to do nothing more than to take tests, e.g.; blood, hearing, heart, dermatology, urology, vision, etc. Frankly, it sounds like a scam whereby the primary care physician prescribes tests with other doctors and perhaps gets a kickback in return. It is also somewhat embarrassing when your social calendar is filled with nothing but medical tests.

My doctor will probably say I am being paranoid. I guess this means I’ll have to suffer through even more tests to check my mental acuity. See, it never stops! God how I hate the 21st century.

Keep the Faith!

P.S. – For a listing of my books, click HERE.

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is an author, freelance writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at [email protected]

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Copyright © 2021 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

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