A common theme in medicine is that many patients worry about their health. For patients, this can take many forms. Some patients avoid the doctor, deciding “what I don’t know won’t hurt.” Others worry for days or months leading up to their check-ups, worrying their doctor will “find something bad.” And, still others go in to see their doctors much more regularly in hopes of getting answers to their questions to help calm their fears.
At Direct Doctors, we’ve saved patients hours of worry. One poignant example - my patient was called by her gastroenterologist’s office that she needed to come in for a colonoscopy results report “asap.” When the patient asked why, in a worried tone, the secretary said she didn’t know. My patient texted me right away, worried the news was bad. Because I already had the report on hand, I told her not to worry - the report was normal. She asked me a number of clarifying questions and we settled on the results being benign. When she showed up the next day to see her GI doctor - who of course reiterated what I had already shared, that all was well and this was just a formality for her to be seen - she let him know how worried she was but that luckily her PCP calmed her fears and saved her from 24 hours of misery!
At Direct Doctors, and other direct primary care practices across the country, we help patients dealing with health-related anxiety in a number of ways.
1. Ease of access: Simply put - if you know you can reach your doctor when you need them, you are less likely to worry about a symptom spiraling out of control before you get medical attention.
2. Results quickly: If you’re used to waiting weeks (if you ever hear at all) about your mammogram result or your blood work numbers, you will be shocked when you hear back the day the test was done that everything was normal.
3. Doctor who knows you: There’s nothing like getting to know one physician (or two at most) who know you well as a patient and a person. Gaining that familiarity and relationship helps your doctor calm your anxiety and answer questions with an understanding of what you need.
4. No waiting, no rush: Your questions will be answered when you visit Direct Doctors. Instead of the average 7-10 minute visit, you can have as much time as you need to feel thoroughly heard.
I’ve had patients who are self-described medical “worry warts” who tell me just how life-saving this practice has been for them. They no longer get put on hold when they call with a pressing concern. They aren’t shuffled to see the PA when they really want time with their doctor. They become comfortable with the calm and open-minded setting at Direct Doctors. They appreciate the quick text back from their doctor when they are worried about their mammogram results. And, they love that they are seen as a person, not just a number.
If you’re anxious and not sure if this is right for you - we encourage you to come on in and check out the Direct Doctors difference for youreself!
Lauren Hedde, DO and Mark Turshen, MD are Family Physicians and Founders of Direct Doctors, Inc. a Direct Primary Care Practice.