Your doctor knows a lot about you. She should. She must!
But do you ever wonder what happens to all that information you give your family medical practitioners?
While mistakes are occasionally made by health care providers, you should know (and be comforted) that the best health care professionals exercise extreme caution with your personal information.
Not only are they required to do so by doctor-patient confidentiality rules and laws… the best practitioners zealously safeguard your information because they know that failing to do so will have serious consequences in terms of the trust-based relationship a doctor needs to serve her patients well.
In medical practice, “trust” may not be everything… but it’s certainly one of the most important things professional practitioners need to focus on.
Patients simply get better care from health care practitioners they know they can trust.
Patients share a lot of personal information with the practitioners who look after their health.
If the trust is broken between doctor and patient – even if there’s the slightest perception of a breach of trust – human nature dictates that the patient will be far less forthcoming with future information.
And the things a patient should – but may not – tell his doctor could make a huge difference in the level of care he’s able to receive.
It’s even common for patients to decline to seek care at all, if they’re worried about the confidentiality of their personal information.
Some deeply-personal information may relate to a malady that many people would consider stigmatizing. Sexual and reproductive health… communicable diseases… and concerns with psychiatric health are among the most sensitive topics doctors and patients should discuss.
These and other sensitive subjects require the absolute utmost care in safeguarding a patient’s personal information.
Health care providers know they have to guard this information rigorously. In the case of some topics, your family doctor isn’t even allowed to discuss the matter with other members of your family without your consent.
So, from the forms you fill out at the doctor’s office, to the generalized information that might be collected when you visit the clinic’s web site, you need to know that the information you give your family health practitioners is – and will remain – just between you.
And the best family medical practices go out of their way to provide you these assurances.
What does it take, after all, to be a great health care professional?
You need all that knowledge and training you picked up in med school and in subsequent clinicals, internships, and other educational settings (and that includes keeping up on all the latest research and trends).
You need the right facilities, medicines, and equipment to provide your patients with the care they need.
And you need empathy.
A hefty dose of it.
One of the time-tested truisms in the medical profession is this: “Your patient may not care how much you know until he knows how much you care.”
Again, trust-building empathy may not be everything… but it’s crucial in determining the success of a medical practice.
Your doctors know this. And that’s why they do everything in their power to make you feel comfortable and to earn your trust.
They want you to know they care. And not just a little.
So you may rest assured your top-quality family medical practice will take every possible precaution not only with your medical treatment, but with the information you share with them, too.
Because the trust they build with you is a priceless treasure.
Do you feel like you can tell your doctor anything? You should. The more she gets to know you… and the more you get to trust her, not just for her medical expertise but for her personal integrity as well… the healthier and happier you’ll have a chance to be.