In medical school, physicians are taught to view diseases and scientific processes and approach diagnosis and treatment similarly. Once in practice, however, it’s not diseases that physicians treat but individuals – unique people, each with their own twist on life. It’s the therapeutic alliance these two individuals strike up that uncovers conditions called ‘diseases,’ and only then can healing begin.
The alliance part is quite important because only when a physician and patient trust each other can they grow their relationship.
How vested is a physician when they have only minutes to spend with the patient and when their insurance will likely kick them out of network within a couple of years?
How vested is the patient if they feel as though they are viewed as another medical condition – an ICD-10 code waiting for the next algorithmic treatment?
Relationships Take Time to Build
The idea that a physician is infallible or punishable for any clinical judgment error is a concept created in a litigious society but has little rationale.
A physician cannot be the decision maker, and the reality of clinical medicine is that hardly anything is clear-cut. Trying to chase down facts or diagnoses leaves both parties confused and dissatisfied.
Instead, when the patient and doctor cultivate their relationship, they form a bond of trust and cooperation. The doctor expects her patient to be vulnerable and introspective, and the patient expects honesty, expertise, and commitment.
The Return on Investment
The goal is for the doctor to encourage their patient to make the right health choices to prevent most chronic diseases: diabetes, heart disease, dementia, and cancer.
The bank deposits are the many times the doctor and patient meet for benign conditions, holding each other accountable in their therapeutic alliance.
If and when a health crisis occurs, they can tap into these savings to ensure the best outcome; the doctor knows they have earned the patient’s trust, and the patient knows the doctor is committed and will help with tough decisions.
A Virtual Practice
The reason we chose to build a Virtual practice here at Digital Nomad Health is because the world is more connected than ever before. At the same time, people change jobs, zip codes, and even countries.
We invest in long-term relationships by building that therapeutic alliance using technology when necessary. We text, call, and do video chats.
During our conversations, we review laboratory findings, address any personal challenges and obstacles, and clarify clinical medicine to dispel any misconceptions.