Better Health: Smart Health Commentary Better Health (TM): smart health commentary

Article Comments (1)

Should You Give Your Physician A Gift?

I used to get lots of gifts from patients during the holidays.  Not so much anymore.

I’m more patient-centered than ever.  And the older I get the more relaxed I get with my patients.  I’d like to think
that I’m more likeable.  But still fewer gifts than ten or fifteen years ago.

So what gives?

Times have changed.

Doctors nowadays are dispensable.  If a patient doesn’t like what they’ve got they can move on.  But this is probably a good thing.  It’s what patients should do.  In the old days there was less of that.  We needed a tight relationship with our providers.  It was essential.  Gifting may have been seen as a means of getting what one needs.  Not so much now.

But in this evolving world of patient empowerment is there role for the cultivation of a stronger relationship from the patient’s end?

When it comes to my relationships I care less about cookies and gourmet pears.  Intent resonates more with me these days. Much like a handwritten note, which seems to be so much more powerful than twenty years ago.

The world of patient care is changing quickly and not for the better.  Caring for the chronically ill is stressful, backbreaking work.  If you’ve got a relationship that works think about pointing out the value in what you’ve got.  Gourmet pears aside, remember that a sincere, heartfelt thank-you represents one of the best gifts you can give your doctor.

*This blog post was originally published at 33 Charts*


You may also like these posts

Read comments »


One Response to “Should You Give Your Physician A Gift?”

  1. Elisabeth says:

    I think it has less to do with feeling physicians are dispensable and more to do with our culture. I used to teach and as a teacher I received a ton more gifts my first year as my last. Alas, we are a less grateful, or at least less expressive, culture. Ask your postman, your hairdresser or your pastor – I bet they are all receiving fewer gifts the more years that go by.

Return to article »

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

Read more »

How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

Read more »

See all interviews »

Latest Cartoon

See all cartoons »

Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

Read more »

The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

Read more »

Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

Read more »

See all book reviews »