Care Redesign
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When Patients Want the Doctor, Not the Team (01:48)

Sometimes, patients just want to see the doctor — not a care team. “How do you navigate the way we get work done with the way patients perceive they want care?” Care Redesign Lead Advisor Amy Compton-Phillips asks Bastiaan Bloem, Founder of ParkinsonNet, and Sara Singer, Harvard expert on health care policy and management.

“Can I frankly disagree?” asks Bloem. “I think this old-fashioned idea that patients are stuck or married with their physician is an old idea. A unique role, but not the only role on the team.” Bloem describes ParkinsonNet’s voice of the customer program, during which patients said they would rather see the nurse for certain problems. “Most of our patients, when you let them speak freely with this new approach, told us they rarely need the physician,” he says.

“I do see both of those kinds of patients,” notes Singer. The difference, she says, lies with the physician and other providers having a strong relationship and shared knowledge about the patient. “Sometimes, if a physician can introduce the other provider to the patient, to give them the confidence that they are in fact collaborating, know each other, share the same information, it gives so much more confidence in the relationship that the other provider can have with the patient,” says Singer. “People call them warm handoffs, but it makes an enormous difference.”

From the NEJM Catalyst event Care Redesign: Creating the Future of Care Delivery at Kaiser Permanente Center for Total Health, September 30, 2015.

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