Patient Consultations as an Art

My approach when treating each one of my patients is to educate them about their condition so that we can come up with the best treatment option.

I think it’s important for my patients to be aware of their conditions: the cause (if it is known), the natural course of the condition, triggers of the condition, and treatment options.

After explaining the condition, I like to get a sense of what kinds of treatments the patient is interested in.  Some patients have had their conditions in the past and certain medicines worked well for them so they want to try them again.  Others have heard about treatments from friends or family or media that they’re curious to use.

Still, others have no idea which treatments they want to use, but want to avoid certain types of treatments because of side effects that they’ve heard about.  I always take into consideration what is important for the patient and work that into the treatment regiment, but I also make sure that the patient is basing any decisions on true information.  The internet is a wonderful source of information, but a lot of information patients get can be skewed or incorrect.

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After providing the patient with the facts, I work with them to come up with a plan that works for them, taking into consideration various factors.

  • Does the patient want whatever it will take to resolve the condition as quickly as possible or does that person need a simple regiment that they can easily comply with?
  • Does the patient want to avoid any oral medications and want to see how far they can get with just topicals?  Does the patient have a big event coming up and needs a quick remedy?
  • Does the patient need the peace of mind of a biopsy or because of financial burdens, needs to minimize procedures as much as possible?

Although I do try to take as much of the patient’s consideration in as much as possible, it is also my job as a doctor to provide my recommendations.  If i strongly feel that a medication or procedure is necessary, I will relay that and provide the pros and cons of doing what I recommend vs. not doing them.

For other conditions, there might not be a strong medical need to treat something, so I leave the choice up to the patient.

When treating a patient for a cosmetic procedure, it is also very important to listen to what the patient wants.

I first ask them “What is it that bothers them about their skin, face and/or body?”

Then I will ask if there are certain procedures that they were interested in doing.  Some patients have a strong sense of what they are interested in.  Others, just want to know which procedures I would recommend to achieve their goals.  Many times, I educate my patients on what the different types of cosmetic procedures can achieve, specifically for their face or skin.  Because there are so many different types of treatments, it can be confusing as to which types of treatments are used in which situations.  Budget is also very important to talk about.

Taking everything into account, the patient and I will come up with the best treatment plan for that patient.

Most of my time with patients is spent talking to them, getting to know their preferences, and what they think about their condition before we come up with the ideal treatment plan for that specific patient.

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