Before you choose a PCP (Primary Care Provider), one of the most important things to consider is “What kind of doctor are they?”  The fact is, doctors can differ significantly in their style, bedside manner, and their approach to treating medical conditions.  So, for my first of many hopefully valuable articles I plan to share, I thought it would be a good idea to start with an explanation of my style.  Ultimately my hope is that my style is one that everyone will love, but just as doctors’ styles differ, so too does what patients seek in their ideal doctor. So, while I am proud of the professional style I have refined over 20+ years of clinical practice, it may not be an exact fit for all patients, and I accept that. So, without further ado, what follows is a description of my style of doctoring.

 

I listen.

Truly listening to the patient may be the greatest challenge today’s doctors face. And the irony is, it’s the reason why most of us decided to practice medicine in the first place. After all, only by listening do we have the opportunity to know the patient beyond the medical condition.  That context is crucial in connecting the patient with the optimal treatment plan.  Unfortunately, the maddening additional tasks demanded by insurance-driven medicine such as documentation requirements, inefficient electronic health record (EHR) systems, the coding and claims reimbursement process, and the drive to see as many patients as possible, create a maddening amount of “noise” that fills the space between the patient and the doctor.  Listening has become one of the casualties of modern medicine.

To listen to a patient, a doctor needs to filter out the noise and distractions and have a meaningful interaction.  This is my goal in every patient visit, and I often hear from patients “I’ve never had a doctor listen to me like that before.” Listening is crucial.

 

I’m accessible.

Having a great doctor is only great if you have reliable access to that doctor.  My pledge is to be available to my patients whenever needed.  Have a question? Text me, email me, or call me.  Need an office visit?  I will make every effort to see you right away, most often same day or next day.

 

I’m open-minded.

A good doctor needs to be knowledgeable of the current evidence and “best practice” standards of care. But that is only part of the equation when it comes to working with the patient to create a care plan that is best for that particular patient.  Each patient brings their own interests, fears, religious beliefs, political convictions, etc., and they’re all relevant to the clinical discussion.  I try to meet patients where they’re at, meaning everything is discussed in the context of the patient’s belief system.

 

I emphasize lifestyle.

Modern medicine makes available a seemingly endless array of technologies, interventions, and medications.  Anyone who watches even a little TV has been encouraged to “Ask your doctor if “x” is right for you.”  But often, the best intervention is not a pill, or a surgery, or an MRI, but instead, a reconsideration of how we live, most often related to nutrition, sleep, stress, and physical activity.  Incorporating lifestyle recommendations into a good care plan takes time (time that is not well-reimbursed by insurance companies), and it also requires that a doctor know the patient so that the lifestyle recommendations can truly be tailored to the patient. In my practice, I take the time to work with patients to optimize their lifestyle while incorporating the latest best medications and interventions.

 

I invite the patient to be involved in their care plan.

Too often the potential of the patient themselves is overlooked.  The traditional care model emphasized a clinic/doctor-centered approach in which the doctor provided direction in periodic, often infrequent clinic visits. But that model fails to take advantage of what the patient brings to the table. And especially now, with the technologies allowing home monitoring via wearable devices etc., patients are better supported than ever in becoming more involved in their own management.  In my practice, an informed, engaged patient is supported and encouraged to be actively involved in their care.

 

I make every effort to remain up to date.

Medicine changes fast, and new treatments can bring great promise.  The last few years have brought tremendous advances from new very effective weight loss medications and hormone replacement therapies to genetic biomarker testing to advanced imaging techniques.  I am committed to keeping up to date with these advances so that my patients can benefit from them.  If you see me out walking, chances are I am listening to one of the several medical podcasts that I subscribe to for clinical updates.

 

I enjoy my patients.

Perhaps most importantly, I enjoy my time with my patients.  The patient-doctor relationship is special. It involves trust, communication, and reliability, and is the foundation for your wellness. I look forward to my time with my patients and I am enriched by my interactions with them.

 

If you have any questions or feedback on this article, please reach out to Dr. Duffy directly at doc@remddirect.com.  If you’d like to share this article with others, please do. And if you love what we do, please leave us a review at: https://g.page/r/CZqKYkfBwVL0EB0/review

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About the Author

Dr. Michael Duffy

As a Board Certified Family Physician who has practiced medicine for over 20 years, I have held a variety of leadership roles in hospitals and healthcare technology while always maintaining an active clinical practice. Using those many lessons learned, and in an effort to uphold what is best in primary care, I launched reMDdirect, a new Direct Primary Care practice in Twin Falls, Idaho in October of 2023. My focus is to provide a top notch primary care experience that ensures easy access, transparent pricing, and a great patient experience. I am committed to working with patients and employers to empower the individual to understand and manage their health conditions. In this blog section, I will offer current, evidence-based advice on health issues relevant to you so that you may be better involved in your own care. If there is an issue you would like to see addressed, or if you have any questions on a post, please reach out via the “Contact Us” tab at the top of this website, and please feel free to share this info with others and invite them to connect via this website.  At reMDdirect, we are excited to welcome new patients to the practice. Thank you for being part of the reMDdirect family!