July 2 Chat – Patriotism & Loyalty in Healthcare

US and Canadian Flags

The first week of July is a special time for both the US and Canada. In this one week, each country celebrates it’s formation – with Canada Day on July 1st and Independence Day on July 4th. It’s a time for BBQ’s, fireworks, being outdoors and wrapping ourselves up in our respective flags. In honour of this special week, I thought it would be nice to discuss the concepts of patriotism and loyalty in healthcare.

“Patriotism” isn’t a word you often hear associated with healthcare, but with the growing healthcare travel industry and the increasing options patients have for treatment overseas, I believe that this word will be used more and more in the years to come. The question is, does patriotism have any bearing for patients? If I am seeking the best care for myself or for a loved one, do I really care about which country the healthcare provider is as long as the care is reputable and safe? What if I cannot afford care in my home country should I not seek care elsewhere?

Medical Tourism is a growing industry and according to this article from Reuters some countries like Germany are embracing this trend and actually marketing themselves as a destination for affordable + safe care. Several Asian countries like Singapore, India and the Philippines are expected to see double-digit growth in medical tourists from now until the year 2015 according to a recent study.

Loyalty is a concept that is closely linked with patriotism. But is loyalty still important in healthcare? Should physicians try to cultivate the loyalty of their patients or should they simply focus on providing the best care possible and let the chips fall where they may? Should healthcare staff be loyal to the organizations that employ them or should they be loyal to their teammates and to their own values instead?

Dr. Matthew Rifkin makes several points about how loyal is indeed important to the patient-doctor  relationship in this KevinMD.com post. Stewart Gandolf talks about the need for building loyalty with patients in the early days of building a new independent practice in his blog post.

Priyal Patel wrote an excellent post for Perficient Health that talks about how important it is for healthcare organizations to work towards gaining the loyalty of its staff – especially those the deliver care to patients. If you agree with Patel, then perhaps your organization should create an environment that encourages remarkably loyal employees as outlined in this Inc article.

This week on #HCLDR we’re going to explore these concepts of patriotism and loyalty to see if they still have a place in healthcare and if so, what can be done to improve it.

  • T1: Does the concept of patriotism have a place in healthcare? Should people shun medical tourism to remain loyal?
  • T2: Should providers & staff be loyal to their healthcare organizations? Shld pts be loyal to their docs?
  • T3: What can organizations & solo practitioners do to encourage loyalty?

Join us for #HCLDR tweetchat on Tuesday July 2nd at 8:30pm Eastern. We have a very open and welcoming community. We love both newcomers and healthcare veterans.

Happy Canada Day! Happy Independence Day!

Colin

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