How the doctor-patient and advisor-client relationships are alike
By John Nichols
Disability Resource Group, Inc.
I want to highlight a book called "Critical Decisions: How You and Your Doctor Can Make the Right Decisions Together." It's written by Peter Ubel, a physician and behavioral scientist who just happens to be an old high school classmate of mine. The timing is great for this book in light of the roll out of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the potential of 30 million new people entering the medical industry for care. Physicians will be overwhelmed with the workloads. There are not enough doctors to serve the patients. And there are also not enough students coming into the medical field.
Will you have a personal relationship with your doctor or just be a number? Where and who do you turn to when that critical decision needs to be made? Dr. Ubel asks, "What are the best medical choices for these people? And who should be making critical medical decisions?" He speaks to "patient empowerment;" however, do we know enough to make the decision?
I believe we are at a turning point in which each of us is coming face-to-face with personal responsibility. In his book, Dr. Ubel shows how hidden dynamics in the doctor-patient relationship keep us and our loved ones from making the best medical choices. From doctors who struggle to explain to patients who fail to properly listen, countless factors alter the course of our care, causing things to go seriously awry.
He discusses how patients and doctors can learn to become partners and work together to make the right choices. From whether to get surgery to deciding whether the side effects of a blood pressure medication are worth the trouble, we can discover the tools to improve communication, understand the issues and make confident decisions for our future health and happiness. This is also how the relationship between advisors and clients should strive to be: a partnership in the decision-making process.
On a personal note, I believe helping clients make wise choices in protecting their financial health — with products like disability insurance — is the best way to cultivate a trusting, long-lasting relationship.
See also: Good news! Advisors trump doctors on trust