A patient came to the office today with benign keratoses — small, scaly, brown, “stuck on” looking, waxy lesions that aren’t cancer or even precancerous. The patient had already seen another dermatologist and was completely dissatisfied with the care she received, because the other dermatologist dismissed the lesions as nothing to worry about.
The other dermatologist had made the right diagnosis. The other dermatologist had prescribed what was arguably the correct treatment for these benign lesions: do nothing. But despite giving the patient the right diagnosis and the right treatment, the patient perceived the care she received as a major disappointment.
I won’t judge the other dermatologist. I wasn’t there when the patient was examined. At the same time, I don’t question that the patient wasn’t satisfied with the care she received. Often, it takes more than making the right diagnosis and prescribing the right treatment to satisfy patients. In fact, if you look at the comments patients make on DrScore.com, you find that other aspects of care are the primary reason patients are satisfied or dissatisfied with their care. If you’re interested in more information on this, check out the DrScore research paper on the topic: http://www.drscore.com/press/papers/whatpatientswant.pdf.