I had a wonderful experience last night, hosting a dinner in honor of the recipients of our first annual Patients’ Choice Award, given to the 5 physicians with the best scores on the outpatient patient satisfaction survey. As readers of this blog know, I don’t like the term “patient satisfaction,” because it seems like such a simplistic measure and a low bar. I think that quality care and effective communication require a lot more than “satisfying” patients.
The dinner last night was a chance to celebrate the practice of a group of physicians who embody the higher ideals of patient care.
Here they are at the dinner:
Click here to watch a video of surprising them in their offices with the award.
And here is what I said at the dinner:
This video reminded me of the words of Francis Weld Peabody, who was an early 20th century leader in academic medicine. Peabody spoke to the students of Harvard Medical School in 1927 about the need to retain the humanistic and personal side of medicine in the face of the scientific advances of the day, which were transforming clinical practice. His remarks were later published in JAMA (Peabody FW. The care of the patient. JAMA 1927; 88:877-882.) and reprinted as a booklet, which I keep on my desk. In them, he states:
“Now the essence of the practice of medicine is that it is an intensely personal matter.”
He closes with the now famous statement:
“The good physician knows his patients through and through, and his knowledge is bought dearly. Time, sympathy, and understanding must be lavishly dispensed, but the reward is to be found in the personal bond which forms the greatest satisfaction of the practice of medicine. One of the essential qualities of the clinician is interest in humanity, for the secret of the care of the patient is in caring for the patient.”
Congratulations to a group of physicians who live that every day.