Business of Well-being

The Sound of Wellness: Patience for Your Patients

If you want to hear the sound of wellness, listen to the work of a concierge audiologist.Watch that doctor perform her job because it is cause for celebration and a summons to update the Hippocratic oath, to include a sentence of aphoristic style and professional substance into this pledge to first do no harm.

That promise should feature five words of unambiguous clarity: Have patience for your patients.One doctor who symbolizes this principle is Dr. Melissa Alexander, Founder of Alexander Audiology.

Based in Los Angeles, California, Dr. Alexander is a concierge audiologist. She has her own office where she sees patients and attends to their needs, but she is also someone who understands that not every patient can visit her practice, though every patient expects - and has a right to receive - the benefits of Dr. Alexander's expertise as a practitioner of her craft.

For that is what good health care is in general and concierge medicine is in particular: The chance to help those who cannot, albeit temporarily, help themselves; who cannot visit a physical office without first regaining their physical strength; who cannot so quickly recover from a stroke or an injury involving Parkinson's disease, though recover they must; as recover they shall.

Picture, then, a black compact car - one of millions in that nighttime grid of white headlamps and red brake lights - a blip on a monochromatic radar screen that follows the stop-and-go traffic of some serpentine boulevard that stretches from the city to the sea, in which the spotlight from a police helicopter shines unto this roadway with the same intensity as its use at a film premiere. Picture a new form of wellness, where that doctor makes her way toward a patient's home because someone needs her help.

Picture a model of patience, where that doctor answers every question, addresses every concern and explains every detail - no matter the time of night or the number of times necessary to do something right - so a patient can improve his hearing, increase his self-confidence and listen to the sound of a city (and a household) alive with the music of humanity.

According to Dr. Alexander: "If you do not have patience for your patients, if you do not sympathize with their respective conditions or situations, if you do not distinguish between what your profession requires and your spirit demands -- if you treat medicine as a gateway to money, you will soon have none of the latter and no chance to practice the former.

Patience is the essence of concierge audiology. "I second that sentiment because the best way to better our system of health care is to have better health care providers. That approach, with its emphasis on compassion and customized care, is something we should encourage every doctor to follow.

That approach is a path to long-term health and wellness.Now is the time to make that ideal a reality, thanks to the example of those few icons of goodness.

About the Author

Michael D. Shaw is a columnist, biochemist and protegue of the late Willard Libby, the 1960 winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. He writes about a variety of subjects including wellness, health care, and business leadership.

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