I remember a time when access, even by telephone (depending on my location) was difficult. Nostalgic for the simplicity of patient-doctor relationships of the past, but excited about upcoming advances in medicine and technology – I believe these concepts can go hand-in-hand.
Internet and technology allow for easy communication with folks all over the world, not just the doctor ‘down the street’ from your home. The membership model doesn’t place limits on provider access, because telephone/text, telemedicine, and in-office communications are all inclusive. This allows patients to reach out when they need it and get the answers they need within a reasonable time-frame (because providers are people, too).
Telemedicine allows for communication with those best fit for the management of this patient population. That is, we are not geographically constrained to finding someone to refer to within this city and our patients are not geographically constrained to see us only if they live within traveling distance. This is also beneficial for those struggling to leave the house because of refractory headache and facial pain and need the care and services in order to become active. Not only can a physician visit the home (virtually), but supplementary treatments, like yoga instruction, can take place at home with telemedicine.
Because we strive to provide a nurturing environment for patients, staff, and providers, we have a patient-provider promise that patients review and sign when becoming a member at IHC. The document describes proper etiquette attached to direct care: some boundaries are necessarily placed on access, but the physician is available to patients in time of need.
Who better to field a headache question from my patient than me? I understand that sometimes, even though we may have reviewed the patient’s individual headache plan together in the office (or on the phone, etc.), once he/she leaves the office, the terminology or general plan can become confusing or fuzzy. So, if someone has a question about their treatment, and I am available in real-time, then they can contact me and I will do my best to answer and help him/her at the time of need!