“If I listen to my patient, he is telling me his story.”
Have you ever had a physician ask to hear your story? Have you ever complained that your doctor doesn’t listen? Healthcare is the most personal of service experiences, but too often the experience feels detached and impersonal.
Dr. Steven Harmon, Family Medicine physician at South Valley Primary Care, believes that hearing “your story” is key in caring for patients. Not only helping build relationships but also in getting a more accurate diagnosis. “Typical medical training focuses on disease processes and the physical aspect of medi-cine. While taking care of the body is important, we shouldn’t for get to take care of the mind and spirit of a person as well,” explains Dr. Harmon
“As health care providers, we need to incorporate the entire patient when we discuss their diseases. Taking into account the social context of a patient helps to find solutions to problems that would go overlooked if we don’t consider them. I find patients are more satisfied and feel more ownership of their health care when I consider the mind, body, spirit, and they are included in designing an appropriate treatment plan, said Dr. Harmon.
Research tells us that patents that feel heard and trust their doctor are more likely to follow treatment recommendation and ultimately improve health outcomes. “One of the key things that drew me to primary care was creating relationships and working in a partnership with my patients,” noted Dr. Harmon “Maybe one day I’ll even take care of the children of my current pediatric patients,” he added. “It is very rewarding to work together with patients helping them learn the “why” and “how” of their disease. I want my patients to know why they are being treated and be involved in setting their own health goals,” he commented.
Dr. Harmon works with his colleague, Karen Olson, FNP a Family Medicine Nurse Practitioner. She has cared for patients in our area for many years. “We are interested in promoting wellness and disease prevention,” said Karen. “We would rather help our patients remain well than treat them after they are ill,” she added.