Our patients are not just clients of the practice, in some ways they become like friends. We like seeing them, like hearing about their lives and families, and root for their successes. It can seem like more than a professional relationship, but, it has to stay professional. And, did you know that you are in a fiduciary relationship with each of our patients?
The word fiduciary (pronounced: fih-doo-she-ary) is a legal word that defines your responsibilities for the other person, who we call the patient but the law would call the “principal”.
In short, it means that you need to always put the interests of the patient first. We take care of the patient ahead of our own interests in the matter. This would include obvious things like doing a good job, helping them heal, and answering questions but it also includes things like never thinking of our own scheduling needs, fees, or commissions ahead of their interests. A fiduciary will make certain that the patient gets the surgical date that is right for them, rather than one that is better for her own interests (e.g. for earning a bonus). A fiduciary sees themselves as being responsible for taking care of the patient as if they themselves were the patient. It’s a somewhat formal version of “Do unto others as you would have done unto you.” This is one of the reasons why I sometimes talk patients out of procedures. It’s my responsibility to tell people what would help them, but also to not do things that are of limited help (even if they would increase our revenues). It’s also why I’ll cancel a procedure if something is not right in the patient’s medical history. I’d rather have a lost day than put a patient at increased risk.
Being a fiduciary is a very important part of our culture at The Spiegel Center. Patients need to know that we are loyal to them, care about their interests, and can be trusted to always work on their behalf. It’s why we all treat every patient as if they were our own patient. It’s why we treat every patient as if we were the patient.
This is critical and inherent to every interaction we have with the people who trust us. They know they can count on us.