In 2007, three researchers set out to answer an interesting question: Is the 21st Century GP a physician or a priest? Every day a waiting room full of people come to share the details of their often unhappy lives. They have the vague hope that doctors will offer some comfort. This comfort could be in the form of medication or referral.
But in many cases, the only thing the doctors offers is a listening ear and support. The researchers wanted to know if doctors were filling the roles of priests in old societies. And it turns out that to some extent, they are. It’s an intriguing idea and one that may be even more relevant today than it was 10 years ago. As automation takes care of the technical details, the human touch is vital.
But what can a doctor do to improve patient experience outside of treatment?