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Should Patients Guide Their Own Healthcare Journeys?

May 16, 2023
Should Patients Guide Their Own Healthcare Journeys

The healthcare journey is one with multiple juxtapositions. On the one hand, healthcare should be based in scientific fact and reliable evidence. On the other hand, how a patient feels doesn't always line up with science. Likewise, doctors and nurses are trained clinicians well versed in how the human body works. But no one knows a body better than the person who lives in it. We say all this to pose the following question: should patients guide their own healthcare journeys?

KindlyMD patients live with a full range of medical conditions including chronic pain, PTSD, depression, and anxiety. We operate on the philosophy that they should be the primary decision makers. They should be encouraged to guide their treatments with help from prescribers and clinicians. When all is said and done, they are in charge.

Like Building a House

A good way to think of the KindlyMD approach to healthcare is to compare it to building a house. The builder and general contractor are trained professionals with the knowledge and experience to make sure the actual construction is done correctly. But they are not the primary decision makers.

They sit down with buyers to have frank discussions about what the finished product should look like. Builders and contractors rely on buyers to make architectural decisions, design decisions, budgetary decisions, and so forth. The buyer guides the journey while the paid professionals make it happen.

If builders and contractors built what they wanted without regard to their buyers, they would have a tough time selling houses. That's why they don't do it. Should healthcare be any different? We don't think so. We think patients should be the primary guides. They should lead us along their healthcare journeys while we provide the know-how to get them from one point to the next.

Not Always Black-and-White

Some types of healthcare services are more black-and-white than others. That said, many of the conditions we treat can be pretty fluid from patient to patient. We work with patients experiencing chronic pain in different ways and for different reasons. We treat PTSD patients who experience a range of symptoms that are not always identical.

In terms of mental health conditions like anxiety and depression, there are some basic things common to most cases. But the details of each case are unique to the individuals they pertain to. No two mental health patients are exactly alike.

Patients Know How They Feel

We have learned a lot about the practical aspects of pain medicine over the years. One of the big things is that pain clinics can offer treatment options and sound advice. We can offer recommendations to patients who desperately want relief. But we cannot truly know how they feel. They know how they feel, and it is up to us to listen to what they say.

Patients visiting KindlyMD for the first time discover that our clinicians love to ask questions. Questions are important to helping us understand what a patient is going through. We rely on answers to understand patient experiences as best we can. We are also genuinely interested in what a patient feels is the best direction for treatment.

Should patients guide their healthcare journeys with prescribers and clinicians in support? We believe so. That is the position we take. Patients are in a unique position to know where they were, where they are, and where they think they are going. It's not up to us to dictate what that journey looks like. Our role is to provide support, sound advice, a full array of treatments, a listening ear, and an open mind.

By KindlyMD
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