Iatrophobia is the fear of physicians. Estimates say 3% of the population has true iatrophobia but I'd guess that number is probably higher. Especially if you include people who aren't necessarily afraid of doctors, but just hate going. I can relate, myself having had some pretty notable experiences with doctors as a kid.
That's why the grown up doctor me loves providing my patients the care they need in the way that fits them best. One of our favorite parts of the practice is providing Telemedicine services. In spite of its techie sound, in my five years of practicing medicine via telephone or computer I have found that I, and more importantly my patients, enjoy connecting in this way for many reasons.
Today at 8am, a new patient, Kate, told me she had been putting off seeing her doctor for a relatively straightforward complaint for weeks. She actually had a pretty complex medical history, multiple diagnoses and surgeries. We spoke about her current complaints, history and treatment options and came up with a simple, mutually agreeable plan in about 10 minutes.
At 2pm, I had the opportunity to check in with her; she was feeling better, and reassured. And then she confessed she was avoiding seeing her primary doctor because she was afraid.
What made this even more interesting is that Kate is of all things a.....nurse!
Whatever Kate's fears are about the physician encounter are, they certainly are not made better by long waits, harried staff and all the sights and sounds in most medical spaces. Giving her the option to connect by phone allowed her to feel safe enough to discuss what was bothering her from the comfort of her home.
Another win for remixed medicine!
P.S. We checked in again at 6pm and she is feeling even better!
Aren't you ready to remix your medicine?