Article by M. Vincent Makhlouf, MD, FACS
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
What is a successful consultation?
A successful consultation has to have specific outcomes that will be achieved. But before we get to the discussion of what these should be, both the patient and the office have to be prepared for the interaction.
The patient gets prepared by investigating the office, investigating the practitioner and checking the credentials, certificates, reputation and the experience, and preparing question they want to cover during the visit.
The office should be ready for the consultation by blocking the appropriate amount of time (sometimes a real challenge) and being able to provide the patient with answers to all the questions they have. Some of the questions the patients may not be aware of their presence because they are in the back of their mind not in the forefront.
What are some of the questions patients have during the consultation?
The number one question a patient has is “Can you give me what I want?” This implies that the patient comes with a clear idea as to what they want to achieve. If it’s not clear, then at the end of the consultation that expectation should be clarified.
The next question that is in the mind of everybody is” how is the procedure done?”
This is covered in detail by the surgeon.
The next is what is involved in terms of prearation, healing time, return to work, return to normal activities return to exercise and active lifestyle.
The next question is what risks am I taking? What are the possible complications, and how are they dealt with?
How much pain involved the procedure?
Will I need any kind of specialized help during my recovery?
What is the cost, and can I afford it? Are there financing options?
And lastly one of the more important questions is: do I like the Dr, do I trust him does he care aboiut me? Am I comfortable with this office setup? And do I believe they can provide me with what I want.
In our office we understand your questions and needs we are going to make our very best effort to provide you with the answers you need.
Communication is fundamental into achieving this goal. If we fail to do that, please ask more questions until you are satisfied. We will have an in depth discussion about your goals and whether they can be achieved, what are the expected results and outcomes. We will provide you with printed information to clarify things and to help remember the content of the discussion and provide further explanations as to what is involved.
After the consultation patients usually go home and think about it. If and when they are ready to move to the next step they would call the office and try to pickup a tentative date for the surgical procedure.
Another office visit will be required in the week before the surgery to go over the procedure one more time, clarify any point that may or may not have been fully covered during the consultation. Information regarding the preparation for the procedure, prescriptions and the overall reevaluation of the whole process will occur during this very important pre-op visit.