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General practice can evolve- it just has!

 

It’s Thursday night- I don’t blog on a Thursday night. But this isn’t any ordinary Thursday. Today I believe I walked in on the future of general practice in bricks and mortar– designed and run by a couple whose combined age is not much more than mine. I’m not quite sure what I was expecting when I made the appointment to visit. I suspect I was just being nosy- could a practice really do business without a big reception counter? I was prepared to be disappointed. To see the waiting room damaged and tired after more than a year in business. To see little more in the way of big ideas than the loss of that big ugly barrier. What I wasn’t expecting was to meet a couple whose energy and passion for general practice could easily power a small city and to leave feeling overawed by what they have created.

I saw attention to detail in everything that makes for an extraordinary patient experience. From the music in the waiting room, sounds that could be controlled from smartphones with a different selection possible in each room. Removal of the desk in the consulting room, replaced by a tablet computer fully loaded with the latest clinical software. It is a place I want to be- as a doctor, as a patient, as a visitor or in any capacity they will have me. I can’t begin to describe the impact of each room with windows designed to maximise the natural light even deep in the heart of the building, the removal of clutter (no posters anywhere), the exquisite choice of everything on display with an emphasis on less rather than more. Even the treatment room stocked in a way that makes a Toyota factory the most efficient place on earth.

I heard patients being welcomed, smiling faces everywhere, staff who said they were never happier at work. Doctors who clearly enjoyed what they were doing and a sense of purposeful calm in all that was being done.

This is what can be achieved without relying on any external agent even in a so-called area of need. It has been created by people who care enough to work very hard and want nothing less than they expect for themselves. People who want to create an experience that makes it more likely that people will value what’s on offer. Today I believe I was given a rare glimpse into what it will be like in medicine when these ideas are universally adopted because nothing less than the feelings that this place engenders is good enough.

Picture by AmadeoDM

Comments

  1. David Drake says:

    I love my GP, but he’ll be long dead before his office gets anything remotely technical. But I’ve been going to him for 25 years, so I’m used to hearing the reception desk screaming back to the farthest patient room “Doctor! Patient Waiting Room 3!” Funny, my company designs for medical technology, but I go to the stone age for my own care. Not really funny, is it? Thanks for the article!

    • It might be worth reviewing all that your GP does to see if they really deserve your love……we should accept nothing less than the best, or at least the most respectful service. People are no longer happy to be treated like they are disrupting someone’s tea break.

      • Moyez – I think you may have missed the point of David’s comment. What you reported in your blog was ‘It has been created by people who care enough to work very hard and want nothing less than they expect for themselves. People who want to create an experience that makes it more likely that people will value what’s on offer’ – for some that may be the tablet computer and no desk, for others it would be the familiarity of the place you’ve been looked after for the last 25yrs…………

  2. Thank you Tim.
    What I challenge is the assumption that just because we are familiar with it that we should not think twice about a doctor who is prepared to put up with a loud mouth receptionist, a tacky waiting room, a rude nurse or clutter. It has been shown time and again that people don’t always recognise poor practice just because at some point they were made to feel better ( by design or chance) by someone who was part of their life at the time. People I know put up with a two hour wait to see their GP. That would be bad enough if they were getting high quality care. But they won’t go anywhere else even though they have heard concerns about the dubious practices of their favourite doctor. Just because we ‘like’ our doctor doesn’t mean she is good for us. The ‘experience’ includes what is offered by way of professional advice.

  3. Sounds great Moyez.. a pity you couldn’t take a photo… keen to take a peek!

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