Accountability empowers patients to be the decision maker for their health. It also allows their doctor to guide them toward the path of improved health outcomes. Nevertheless, in order to be held accountable for something, individuals must be engaged in an established relationship.
Insurance companies frequently call patients about their health – diabetes, weight, blood pressure, A1C, etc. Their intentions are explicitly to collect information; however, patients are disturbed and upset by the telephone call.
The following are some of the patients’ reactions, “Why does the insurance company want to know this?,” “Are they trying to save money, by writing me out of their insurance?” and “Are they trying to charge me more?” Patients simply cannot understand the real purpose of the call.
You see, this is exactly why relationships are the foundation for engagement – it makes all the difference. Since the patient did not personally know the insurance person calling, there is an immediate distrust and they are hesitant to freely provide any information.
On the contrary, I have seen patients respond completely different to the same set of questions asked by someone from their doctor’s office. A call from someone they know is always received better.
When dealing with someone who is familiar and trusted, patients are transparent about their struggles and concerns; they ask questions openly and provide information that is helpful for understanding their conditions. Not only this, but they promise to make changes so they can report improved results the next time we call. Therein lies the key to accountability.
Maintaining a relationship with our patients holds them accountable for taking care of themselves. We set the tone for enabling a patient to be an active participant in their overall health. In this example, a call from our office motivates them to want to do better. Over time, they understand that we are invested in their health and they put forth the effort to invest in it as well. That’s invaluable to achieve the outcomes that we need to help our patients be healthier.
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