Take. Your. Time. Words from unofficial guest blogger, Dr. Josh Umbehr


"Direct care isn’t a 'war against speed.' Rather, it’s the result of a challenge accepted. The challenge to seek quality instead of quantity. To thoughtfully examine what happens in the brief pauses between the sentences of a conversation. And to make the most out of something we humans hold so dearly: relationships."

Dr. Josh Umbehr, a DPC pioneer, recently pointed on an important issue. The rush-rush-rush of our daily lives and its impact on our wellbeing.

"We load up our arms with more grocery bags than we can carry because we simply refuse to waste time making two trips.... We give patients seven minutes of our time. And we spend four of those thinking about what’s waiting for us in the next exam room."

How many of us have done this?

It's a no-brainer that you can't live in the present if you are constantly thinking about the future. How can I be present for my patient when I know there are three sick people waiting for me? I can do it, I have lots of practice, but it takes a toll.

Dr. Umbehr's article is written for primary care providers but it has meaning for anyone, really. If we can manage to slow down just a little, we can do better, feel better, and live better.

Gain time by slowing down with your patients - Josh Umbehr, MD

We humans can’t help but shove as much as possible into one minute, one hour, one day. We’re rewarded for doing it, too. Society says that the more you check off your list, the more productive you are. And by default, then, the more productive you are, the more successful you are. So, we rush. We search for ways to skip steps and still get the same result. We fill downtime with more stuff in the name of said productivity.

We load up our arms with more grocery bags than we can carry because we simply refuse to waste time making two trips.

We pull out our phones at red lights so we can jump on the email that came through five seconds ago. Or check Facebook.

We give patients seven minutes of our time. And we spend four of those thinking about what’s waiting for us in the next exam room.

Where has that gotten us? Actually, it’s making us sick.

In his book In Praise of Slowness, Carl Honore talks about how American Physician Larry Dossey coined the term “time sickness” to describe the obsessive belief that “time is getting away, that there isn’t enough of it, and that you must pedal faster and faster to keep up.” These days, he says, the whole world is time-sick. We know that includes the pace of health care.

It’s time to heal ourselves. Slow down and get back to what really matters. Put quality in its rightful place on the forefront and kick quantity’s ridiculous demands to the curb. Traditional health care doesn’t really allow for that kind of thinking, though, does it?

Thank goodness for direct care, where everything is slowed way, way down to a pace everyone’s comfortable with.

Time is the model’s most valuable asset. Let’s take a look at the most obvious example of what makes this true. Direct care doctors spend 30 to 45 minutes with each patient. Every. Single. One. Neither patient nor doctor is rushed. It’s not even that they just don’t feel rushed. They aren’t rushed. And this also doesn’t mean the doctor is then running 37 minutes late. That block of precious time has been accounted for. Inside those minutes, the doc and patient have nowhere else to be. They are each other’s utmost priority during that time.

What else happens when we slow down?

We realize the value in “less is more.” We keep a smaller panel so we can make time for each patient on it. We carve out more exam room time than we probably need just in case it’s … well, wanted. We leave plenty of room for questions that require more than yes or no answers. And we get a much better look at what comprehensive, personalized care really means. Our fringe hours don’t have to be consumed with more stuff because we already have plenty of time to get through our list. Our fringe hours are spent doing things we want to do: research, growing our business, golfing, attending car shows, hanging out with family.

Direct care isn’t a “war against speed.” Rather, it’s the result of a challenge accepted. The challenge to seek quality instead of quantity. To thoughtfully examine what happens in the brief pauses between the sentences of a conversation. And to make the most out of something we humans hold so dearly: relationships.

So, go ahead. Treat your patients slowly. Get better from all those years of being time-sick. Direct care will help you make it happen, minute by minute.

Reprinted with permission from the author. Original article on KevinMD.


Dr. Eaman's Web Search Tips

#1 

Chose websites that end in .gov or .edu first and .org second (MayoClinic.org is a good one). Websites like mine that end in .com are generally just purchased webspace, but an educational organization or governmental organization would likely have more trustworthy & honest information and not just some random person's opinion.

#2

Don't trust news sources for your health information. Check their sources. Oftentimes the media will blow a small irrelevant thing out of proportion to make a good story sell. Go to the original site.

#3

Feel free to crowd source but always remember: everyone is an expert in their own experience, not yours. So when Aunt Tilly says coconut oil cured her psoriasis take it with a little grain of salt. 

© 2016 by Doctor Eaman