Social Media Concerns and Clinic Poicies

Friday, May 19, 2017 8:55 PM

We’ve run into issues with social media that are of great concern for privacy and the potential to break government laws regarding privacy. 

Facebook allows anyone to post reviews for instance, and that seems fair.  We want honest feedback as that’s the only way to improve. 

We cannot have public feedback that is unfair and cannot be replied to without violating HIPAA laws regarding patient confidentiality. That is unfair for everyone.   Primary care clinics deal with people with various personal, medical and  psychiatric issues.  When we try to provide the best and most appropriate care for them it may not always be the popular choice.  We’ll always try to do what is right and in the best interest of our patients and sometimes this is opposite of what they may want or feel is right.  We’d like to avoid this conflict so we’ve pulled our facebook page for this reason.  I don’t believe clinics have any business interacting two ways on social media, at least not at this time until there is a way to mediate issues that arise.  

In other news we did have a complaint about our visit types I’d like to clear up how we try to accomodate everyone. 

We have regular office visits for “Physicals” which are defined by insurance companies as wellness visits.  These are longer appointments where we get to review family medical issues, social issues like drinking, smoking and drug use, past medical issues, and a thorough and appropriate review of organ systems.  These are preventive visits to identify risks such as weight, blood pressure concerns, lifestyle issues, the impacts of smoking and alcohol on health, and issues that may impact longevity.  The visit includes EKG to sceen for heart disease, urinalysis for kidney issues, and labs to evaluate liver function, cholesterol risk, diabetes screening, kidney function, HIV screening, STD screening if appropriate, etc.  Physicals can prevent hospitalizations, identify disease at the earliest stages, identify subtle heart issues that can be deadly, identify pre-diabetes and diabetes when it’s easiest to manage with fewer medications and lifestyle changes, and sometimes catch cancer early when it’s easiest to treat.  Physicals are not meant to be a thorough treatment of a list of complaints that have been saved up, though sometimes we identify problems that need to be addressed so there will be some overlap naturally.  Thoroughly addressing issues may require another visit on another date to properly diagnose and treat.  Most of the time this is not necessary, we only get paid for the wellness exam at this visit yet we still do our best to manage everything but there will be times when it is not possible due to time constraints and the number of issues.  It’s seriously not a money thing, but a quality of care thing. 

Regular office visits also inculde follow up visits for ongoing issues like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, thyroid issues, depression management, etc.  These are scheduled visits that are allowed time to deal with those issues thoroughly.  We try to time these visits so if you have to be fasting we get you in and out as much as possible in the early morning so you don’t have to be fasting all day.   

We  try go schedule appointments with enough time that we can accomodate what we call "Fast Track" appointments.  These are advertised as simple one complaint visits and can be scheduled same day or even as walk-in unscheduled visits on the same day.  The staff will look at the providers schedule and let you walk in to see whoever is available first so as to minimize your waiting time.   These are for issues like a sore throat, common cold, sinusitis, acute rash like poison ivy, Attention Deficit Disorder follow up refills, Bladder infections, etc.  These slots are informed ahead of time that they are for one acute simple problem only because we are trying to accomodate your busy lifestyle by getting you in and out faster than “urgent care” or “retail clinics” can.  We cannot accomodate these walk in appointments if anyone takes advantage and brings up chronic issues or multiple issues since those visits are scheduled separately to be sure we have time to address them thoroughly and effectively.   Complex issues should not be rushed.  Analogies would include making an appointment for a quick haircut and expecting to have hair colored and styled in complex ways at that appointment.  Another example would be calling a plumber for a sink problem and then expecting them to fix 10 toilets not flushing at the same time.  Or perhaps asking a mechanic to quickly patch a nail in a tire and then expect your engine to be repaired in the same time and an oil change all in 7 minutes.   There is no deception with these appointments, we’re very clear and only trying to accomodate you.  We have regular visits that we try very hard to run on time where we can properly manage complex issues, and we have fast track visits for life’s little acute incidents that are simple and you are in a hurry to have addressed on the same day.  

I surely hope that makes sense and that no reasonable person has every been upset or offended by how we manage our schedule to best accomodate your needs.   We’re always open to constructive feedback and want to provide the best care in Sumner county and beyond to our patients.  We literally just want to provide the best of care for our patients, and that’s the way it is.