Today’s guest is Bradley Block, MD who is an ENT doctor and the creator of the Physician’s Guide to Doctoring Podcasts. This doctor realized the importance of trust and efficient communication with patients in building his reputation and enjoying his practice. However, he couldn’t find a podcast that focused on improving doctor-patient communication, so he took matters into his own hands and created his own.
This podcast has served as a valuable resource for other healthcare professionals, offering insights and strategies for improving patient interactions. You will learn the benefits of podcasting for healthcare professionals, including the ability to create a niche platform, build credibility, and connect with a wider audience.
Dr. Bradley Block’s website:
Dr. Mike Woo-Ming: [00:00:00] There could be lots of reasons why you wanna start your own podcast. Perhaps you’re using it to build your own brand. Maybe you want to increase your networking and maybe you wanna establish yourself as an authority in your field. And that’s what my next guest. He is a ENT physician and he wanted to have better communication with physicians and patients.
And he teaches us every single week on his podcast, the Physicians Guide to Doctoring. We’ll learn about his journey. Why he started the podcast. And what he’s learned by his 200 plus episodes that he’s been doing. This my interview with Dr. Bradley Block on this episode of BootstrapMD.
Welcome to BootstrapMD. The Physician Entrepreneurs Podcast, your source to help you, the entrepreneurial doctor, live life on your own terms, get new ideas and inspiration to help you find more balance in your professional life. [00:01:00] If you’re ready to get the knowledge without all the hype, you’ve come to the right place. It’s the Bootstrap MD Podcast, and now your host, Dr. Mike Woo-Ming.
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Hey guys, this is Dr. Michael Woo-Ming. Welcome to another edition of BootstrapMD. This is the podcast for healthcare and physician entrepreneurs. So from time to time I get questions about like, how do you start up a podcast? Should you start up a podcast? Why should you start up a podcast? Can you make money with a podcast?
So I’m glad to have here a guest who’s actually been doing this, I think even longer than I have. He is a private practice, ENT doctor in Long Island, New York, where he lives with his wife and three kids. He’s a partner at ENT Allergy Associates, and he’s the creator of Physician’s Guide to Doctoring Podcasts. He realized the rapport was the key to getting trust, seeing patients efficiently and enjoying his practice and building his reputation. He tried to fight a podcast that would help him improve doctor-patient communication, but there wasn’t any. So, just like any great entrepreneur, he decided to create it himself.
It’s called the Physician’s Guide to Doctoring. The topics [00:03:00] quickly expand to everything we should have been learning. We are memorizing the Krebs Cycle and he is now a practical guide for practicing physicians in training and allied healthcare professionals. He’s also available as a keynote speaker on improving the patient experience, doctor-patient communication, and running office hours efficiently.
So I’d like to bring to the program, Dr. Bradley Block. Brad, how you doing today?
Dr. Bradley Block: I’m doing great. And thank you so much for having me. I’ve been a long time listener. First time podcast guest, so been a big fan for a while of what you’re doing here.
Dr. Mike Woo-Ming: I appreciate it. So when I read your bio, I started to have flashbacks to the Krebs cycle, and one I can actually remember of it which isn’t much, I remember it was a circle of some type.
So I guess the biggest question is, what should we be learning besides memorizing the Kreb cycle?
Dr. Bradley Block: Everything. Like so much, right? Like they should tear down the curriculum and start from scratch because medicine is so rapidly evolving that [00:04:00] we can’t possibly learn it all. Also, there’s new technology at our fingertips where we can look everything up and it’s really useless to memorize stuff because we can look all that stuff up.
Then we have electronic medical records that like can double check our work in terms of drug interactions. A lot of this stuff just doesn’t need to be memorized, so we spend all this time doing it. Meanwhile, we’re not learning as you are teaching people like the business of medicine. They’re learning somewhat about, at least when I was in medical school, we learned that if you sit down with a patient during the office visit, then it makes time seem like it moves slower.
They seem they’re less rushed. But that was all I learned. Oh, and then we’re not good at listening. We need to listen more and listen more. But listening more is time consuming. Yes, we should. But there are ways to do it and there are ways to do it efficiently. And there’s a lot of information out there about how you can be a better doctor, like persuasion.
We need to be able to persuade our patients. There’s a lot of people out there in business, right? In sales that talk about the science of persuasion. Well, we should be learning about persuasion because we should be persuading our patients. I mean, [00:05:00] not to do things that are against their will or against their, not in a conniving way, but like nonetheless moving the needle a little in the direction towards better health and better decisions.
Like that type of stuff. We should be learning about how to patients should, can change their habits and improve their habits. Like we all know that we should eat less and move more, but how do we do that? Like it’s, we’re not learning this stuff. That information is out there. And so that’s what my podcast is all about.
Dr. Mike Woo-Ming: I love it. Yeah. I don’t remember a course on sales and persuasion in medical school maybe. Anyway, that phase was very hazy for me, but let’s talk about it. I do want to talk about first your journey to becoming a podcaster. When did it begin? Why did it begin? I know we, in the bio we invented you were looking for subjects that weren’t bearing covered, but I wanna hear that nitty-gritty.
How did you end up starting the Physician’s Guide to Doctoring?
Dr. Bradley Block: So at this point, it’s five years. I’m five years out from my initial [00:06:00] episode. First three episodes that posted. So if you’re thinking about putting out a podcast, one of the first things that you’ll learn is that like you should have back content immediately.
So don’t just put out one episode, record a few, put out a few. It was your first one. So this for me was five years ago. What happened was I was in my private practice, right? And I’m seeing patients and I’m noticing that I’m running pretty far behind. I have partners that are seeing many more patients in a day than me, and yet how am I not able to see as many?
And I’m still stressed about it because I’m not moving efficiently and they’re somehow finishing their day on time and they’ve seen even more patients than me. What is it they’re doing? And nobody can really look at their own practice and be like, this is what I do and how I do it. It’s more like their just their demeanor, their way, their habits.
And so what I looked into was what information is out there for [00:07:00] optimizing social interactions. And what I found was, it was all on dating. It was all on sales. It was all for executives. There wasn’t that much for doctors on the nuances of improving your social interactions. It’s not a social interaction, right?
It’s a professional one, but nonetheless, I. The Doctor-Patient communication is something that we learn about but there was, I felt like a ton of information out there that we could incorporate as physicians to improve this. Not just so we could move faster, but we could move faster and more effectively.
We could have those patient, those doctor patient visits be more fulfilling for the patient and for us, right? If you’re just having a lot of discouraging visits where you feel like you’re not connecting with your patient. We talk about burnout all the time. That sounds like a recipe for burnout.
You’re just, it’s just gonna suck. So if you can engineer that better, [00:08:00] that would be great. And so I started listening to podcasts on that and I was like, you know what I’ll do? I’ll write a book. I’ll consolidate this information and I’ll put it in a book form with a specific physician audience. And I never lifted a finger, nothing.
I did nothing towards writing a book. So I was like, okay, I’ve gotta do it in more bite-sized. That’s too big a goal. How about blog post? I’ll sit down and do book. Never lifted a finger to write a blog post. So they’re like, I like listening to podcast. You know what I’ll do? I’ll just start a podcast and I’ll have people on my show that can answer those questions, and then I won’t have to write anything or type anything, and I’ll just ask them the questions.
Then they’ll be able to spoonfeed me the answers. But you can’t just start without a podcast and ask strangers to answer your questions for a podcast that doesn’t exist. So where do I begin? I reached out to my network and for physicians, what’s our network? We were, in order to get where we [00:09:00] are, we had to do well in high school, and then we had to do well in college, and then we had to go to medical school, and then we had to do residency.
So we’re surrounded by people who are now often the top of their field in whatever they happen to do. Like my high school friends are doing well, my college friends are doing well. I could reach out to them. My friends from medical school are all experts, right? They’re not the ones that wrote the book, but whatever field we’re in, we are a bonafide expert.
So I reached out to my immediate network in order to record a few episodes, and that included, I think my first episode was on, on advocacy, and that was actually with my co-residents wife ’cause that’s what she did. It was how to advocate for your specialty. And then another episode was with my brother.
My brother has a PhD in Health Policy. He helped write Obamacare. Like so we had an episode on that. And so your network as physicians important to realize that your network is full of experts. So I was able to put out some content on that. And then I [00:10:00] realized how interested I was, just not just in improving that interaction, but in so much of the stuff that we learn that we’re, as I said, the tagline is everything we should have been learning while we were memorizing Kreb Cycle.
There’s so much out there that we should be learning to help us be better doctors as parents, physician parents, physician, spouse, physician, community member, physician boss. There’s so much that we can learn to help us be the best. And then now I’m stealing this from Ted Lasso, which came out after the podcast started, but to help us be the best versions of ourselves. So there it was.
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Dr. Mike Woo-Ming: I love it. And I think too, and I’ve watched previous interviews from you too. Once you’ve had your network, the podcast has allowed you to go outside your network. Because one of the things that I’ve learned about having a podcast is everybody loves to talk about themselves. And it’s a great way of introducing people that you didn’t think you would get access to. So then they can then be assimilated into your network. What’s been your experience?
Dr. Bradley Block: Yes. One of my favorite, a couple of my favorite interviews, one was with BJ Fog, who is a PhD. Right. Like wow.
Dr. Mike Woo-Ming: Bestseller, Amazon [00:12:00] Bestseller. Yeah.
Dr. Bradley Block: I emailed him and he was like, yes, I would love to talk to. Physicians are definitely an audience that I want to know. He’s like the godfather of habit science. So to have in, I never thought I would, he would’ve said yes. There are a few people where I really did a big reach to see if they would reply and some of them said yes.
Another one was Scott Dickers, who was the founder of The Onion. So we talked about how to be funny in an office visit. With BJ Fog, we talked about how to help patients improve their habits. What does the science say about how we can actually help them change their lifestyles or even just take their medications?
So yeah. So once I’ve reached outside the network of the people I know, then I reached out to strangers and sometimes really reaching for those, it panned out and it was, there’s some of my favorite conversations and some of the content I’m most proud of. Another episode was I had read this Huffington post article on how bad doctors are about talking to their patients about obesity.
And it was just lambasting us about [00:13:00] how awful we are and it had all these patients and all their terrible experiences. And so I reached out to one of the people that was quoted, one of the PhD psychologists that was quoted in it, and I said, you’re we’re right. We need to do better at this. Can you help us?
And she was like, podcasts. I love podcasts. And so we had and then we ended up doing a follow-up episodes. We had two great episodes about how to actually talk to people about their weight without stepping on a landmine and alienating them and triggering them like it was. It was, again, some of my favorite content and all of these episodes are really different ways to just help us be, again, the best versions for physicians, specifically, how to help us be the best versions of ourselves.
Dr. Mike Woo-Ming: I love it. I want to pivot now to physician-patient communication. And again, I’m having a lot of flashbacks. We’ve already talked about the Krebs cycle and I was trying to [00:14:00] think about in medical school, did I get any type of training to talk to patients? And I remember, what is it? Maybe second year we talked about the history and physical, right?
We have to do this history and physical, and of course it takes like an hour and a half, right? You get this model patients, they come in and you do everything. You’re doing things that, babinsky reflexes and all these kind of stuff that you never are probably gonna do ever again. Spoiler alert for you, new residents.
Now I’m in position where I’m the owner and I have nurse practitioners who work under me, and then we’re having some, and we’re checking they’re with the patient and it’s 20-25 minutes are real. Are they, what’s going on in there? Are they alive? And they’re getting, they’re, it’s a skill that you have to learn over time and just being efficient.
What’s been your experience with your physician-patient communication of being efficient? How did it evolve for you?
Dr. Bradley Block: Well, one issue [00:15:00] is that it was brought up a couple of months ago in one of my interviews, is we developed these heuristics. Like if you see enough patients, you when you walk in the room, you have a good shot of knowing what the diagnosis is, right?
You see the chief complaint and some demographic information, and you might be able to take a good shot at figuring out what the diagnosis is because common things are common. So you end up seeing the same things over and over. So part of efficiency is just comes with experience. It’s like thinking fast and thinking slow.
Like when we’re residents, we’re thinking slow because we’re thinking of all the different possibilities. But as attendings and especially attendings with a few years experience, these dots just are already connected and then you see the patient and you’re able to, but that doesn’t mean that visit needs to, that doesn’t mean that is the diagnosis.
It doesn’t mean that visit is necessarily gonna go quickly, but that’s something that definitely helps is just that experience. But there are some things that can help you move through the [00:16:00] visit faster that I’ve found. And one of them is they say, listen, yes, it’s important to listen. But what that really means is be present and be undistracted.
And that’s not something that can be faked. The patients are able to pick up on the fact that you’re distracted or not. And if you’re undistracted, they’re less likely to feel the need to repeat themselves, and that’s gonna help the visit go faster. That’s also gonna help you go faster because you are focused on them and undistracted, and you might not, you’re less likely to need them to repeat themselves.
So that’s one thing. Another is, body language or better put nonverbal communication. So with a nonverbal communication, it’s gonna really convey the fact that you are listening and you are understanding, and that can be broken down into two things. What the patients are looking for is interest and authority.
They wanna know that you’re interested in what they have going on, and them as a person, and they wanna know that you’re the authority in helping them get better. And [00:17:00] these are conveyed in two completely different ways. Interest is conveyed in your facial expressions. So when the patient comes in, now, I’m not someone that has a lot of facial expressions when I’m like in interacting with my family and friends, I turn it up a little for podcasts, so you know, to try and be more animated and engaging.
But I also turn it up with patients so that they really feel like I’m not faking it, I’m just amplifying what my facial expressions otherwise would be, ’cause otherwise I’m stone faced and they don’t know whether I’m interested. They don’t know whether I’m paying attention. So one is make sure you’re emoting with your face.
You’re really furrowing your brow and letting them know oh wow, that’s interesting. Raise your eyebrows. Use your face. They can see it. And then authority comes from vocal tonality. When you’re speaking, try not to sound wishy-washy in your tone of voice. Try to be more authoritative. This is how it is. Even in the faces of uncertainty.
That’s one of the big challenges in medicine is [00:18:00] we need to be able to communicate uncertainty. So you have to be able to balance this, communicating uncertainty with authority. This is how we’re thinking about this problem. Doesn’t mean this is definitely the diagnosis. It’s still you’re the authority in how to think about this and go about this problem. So facial expression, vocal tonality.
Another thing that can help you move through the visit faster is disarming the patient with a little humor. So if you can make a joke, they become more receptive. To what you’re saying and more likely to listen and remember because when you’ve got your sympathetic response triggered, you are, and you’re anxious about the doctor’s, you’re anxious about what might be going on, you’re, it becomes harder to retain information.
So if you can disarm them a little bit with humor, and the person who’s the best at this is. I’m sure everyone, all your listeners know, Glock Flecking. I’m saying it wrong, Will Flannery. He is the king of [00:19:00] using humor appropriately because you’ll, if you look at his stuff, he never punches down. And we should do the same.
So if you’re trying to make jokes in the office, the rule to live by is never punched down. The goal of I had mentioned, I had Scott Dickers on my show, the founder of The Onion, and the thing that he told me was, the goal of humor is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable so you can make fun of the EMR, the healthcare system.
You can even use some self-deprecating humor. Just don’t do it about your abilities ’cause don’t undermine your, their faith in you as a physician. But you can never make fun of the patient, ever. So those are some things that can help the visit go better. And one last thing that I wanna mention, ’cause I realize we’ve been talking for a while, is there’s a often a question behind the question, meaning the patient comes in with a sore throat, they’re worried they have throat cancer.
They don’t always verbalize that. So it’s your job to figure out what that is and verbalize it. And often the way to do [00:20:00] that is, what about this bothers you? What about this worries you? A question like that. So then it gives them permission to be like, I’m worried, I know it. I’ve had this sore throat for three days.
It’s probably just a cold, but I do smoke. I’m worried that it could be throat cancer. Give them permission to verbalize that and you can even take a stab at it and guess it. I often do, because again, these heuristics, we see the same things over and over just to make sure that’s been verbalized and that’ll help you move through the visit also and have them leave more fulfilled because then they won’t end up asking these questions over and over that are getting that idea out there without actually asking it.
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Dr. Mike Woo-Ming: This is great. It’s taken me back to my primary care days when we were seeing 50 plus patients a day and it took me a while, but I got in active being one of the more efficient physicians. And the thing that I mentioned to my colleagues is just having that skill like you need to know in a couple of minutes.
What are they ultimately asking for? Like your, was yours was, I’m concerned that this could be cancer. And doing that for some of you [00:22:00] never met before is definitely something that you need to work on. It’s funny, my wife, she comments that I have a, when I seeing patients, it’s, oh, you’re using your patient voice.
Because I’ve done recently, I’ve done some personality testing. I’m a pretty stoic guy. I tended to say things that are pretty blunt, which has worked for me, but may not always work for others, especially if you’re seeing a new patient and you wanna be blunt. So I have to change my tonality, as you said, and have my physician voice and be able to, like when someone’s in a room, you don’t know what happened that day and you’ve gotta figure out, maybe they got in a fight with their spouse. Maybe somebody hit their car on the way here. Maybe they had a bad interaction at the front desk and they had to be rescheduled. And then you come in and then you gotta be able to figure all of that out in a few minutes. But everything that you’ve said is really spot on.
Dr. Bradley Block: Yeah. You [00:23:00] don’t want to, if they just had a death in their family and then you walk in the room and you’re like, Hey, how’s it going? Good to see you with all this enthusiasm. And they’re like, Ugh, that’s not what I need to hear. Okay. Yeah. That cheeriness is not what I need right now. Yeah.
Dr. Mike Woo-Ming: And really what it comes down to is like you said, it comes down to persuasion. We’ve seen it in sales training. I’ve seen it like you’ve mentioned in dating. There’s a YouTuber, his, it’s really popular. It’s called the Command of Charisma. I encourage anyone to go out and take a listen, and I don’t know him, but he says millions of videos and it really focuses on just being a bit charismatic, using humor, not punching down, but using it appropriately to disarm. Whether you’re using it in business. Whether you’re using it in training. Whether you’re using it just to communicate with another human being. And these are things, these are skills that we can all learn from.
Dr. Bradley Block: And that’s actually one of the things that inspired me to get into this was there was this book called The Charisma Myth. And the [00:24:00] charisma myth is that it is an in innate trait and not something that can be learned and ultimately it can be learned. And so I always, I think her name is Olivia Fox Cabane, if I’m getting that correctly. And I still haven’t been able to get her on the show. I’ve reached out a couple of times and get roadblocks ’cause she’s one of those people that speaks to like auditoriums full of people.
But yeah, charisma. All these things can be learned. Like you might not be the Barack Obama of charisma where like he’s just an incredible public speaker, but you can move the needle closer in that direction. You can learn, you can get better at it.
Dr. Mike Woo-Ming: Now someone’s listening to this and they’re probably saying, okay, this sounds great, but let’s be real. I’ll give you an example of my own primary care doctor. I’ve gotten into, known him for a while, but he’s, there’s a language barrier. A little bit of an accident, not too bad, but. He has to be efficient. So he is coming in with his computer. So when I’m, he’s seeing me, I’m actually seeing his laptop, [00:25:00] and occasionally I’ll see him pop up from his laptop.
How can we, technology, EMR, that’s a part of life. How would we kind of balance that by trying to be engaged, but also trying to be efficient?
Dr. Bradley Block: Yeah, so everybody uses Scribes, right? I actually don’t use a Scribe, but Scribes are an effective tool so that you can have your direct face-to-face interaction in scribes, and this is not a, it’s if you’re such a fan, how come you’re not using a scribe, Brad, I don’t have a good answer for that.
I should be using a scribe. Because they can make you more efficient to the point where they pay for themselves, right? I could probably see a few more patients a day if I, ’cause what it doesn’t make the visit go faster. But then when I’m done with the visit and I’ve gotta order CAT scans and put them on antibiotics and check my, the pharmacy’s, the right one and blah, blah, blah, that could all be done with the scribe and then I move to the next room and get started.
So Scribes are one way to do it. Another way is, what I use is Dragon. I use the. Talk [00:26:00] to text and actually there, that is evolving faster to the point where you can, there’s, if it’s not already, it might be coming out soon where you can actually talk and it will chart for you through the dialogue.
So there are ways to take advantage of technology in order to do that’s all supplemental. Another thing is take a little bit of time and get the computer outta the way, right? Like you don’t need to be behind the laptop the whole time. You can position the laptop a little to the side so that you have less of a barrier between you, them, you and them.
What I like to do is, as I’m talking to the patient, I’ll maybe. Slide away from the computer for a little bit on my little Rollie stool. So I’m closer to them, gives them an opportunity for a minute or two to tell their story really not that long. And then I’ll get back to the computer. I’ll take some notes.
And then when they’re done, and I don’t do this every time, it really depends on the patient is then I’ll dictate a summary of what they just said to me. So then I am efficiently documenting. And another [00:27:00] thing is a lot of the stuff that we needed to document previously, they changed coding. So that we don’t need four pain modifiers in order to bill a 99213.
It’s all medical decision making now. So a lot of the stuff that we may have been doing in order to fill up the chart, in order to make sure our level of billing and coding was appropriate. We don’t necessarily need to do anymore. So a lot of that clicking we can do away with, but I like to put something pros in there for me to refer to.
And also then they know I was listening to them. So you let them speak. Maybe you take a couple notes and then you dictate a summary. So now they know you were listening, you heard them, and they get to hear it reflected back to them in a more concise way. ’cause often the way patients experience their symptoms and remember them is in order of severity, not chronologically.
So because they experience them in severity, they’re in a completely random order that really, it’s not succinct at all. But then when they hear it repeated back to them in chronological order, they’re able to [00:28:00] really make more sense of what’s been going on with them. So they hear it back in a more concise way.
Then you examine them. While you’re examining them, the scribe can dictate the, or can, you can dictate to them what you know you’re finding on exam. And then when I’ve made my assessment and plan, I dictate that into the chart. Pros, this is what they’ve got going on, this is what we’re gonna do about it.
And then they leave with it. A typed out summary and they get to hear it again, a summary of what’s been going on. So this is a way of using the computer as a tool instead of as a barrier. But I think important things to consider would be, yeah, getting it outta the way for at least a short period of time so you can develop that report, develop that connection, and you can even name it.
Yeah. Sorry, we gotta put a lot of this information to the computer. I apologize. Just naming it and I think helps as well. But yeah, it is a barrier, but at the same time, I’m able to be much more efficient with my computer than I would be scribbling all this stuff down in handwriting that I’m never gonna be able to read and [00:29:00] nobody’s gonna be able to read.
So as much as the EMR is a bit of a bane, and I think that’s because of all of the clicking that we need to do for other people, right? For billing and coding and for mips. Medicares collecting information from us that we need all this click. So some of the, for us, but in, many ways, it has made us more efficient as long as you use the technol technological tools that are available to you.
Dr. Mike Woo-Ming: Speaking about technology recently with articles about AI and artificial intelligence, there have been some articles that come out that, hey, these AI models have a better bedside manner than a lot of doctors. I know you’re in a large practice. Are you utilizing AI or ChatGPT in your practice, or what do you think are the ramifications of AI moving forward with physician patient interactions?
Dr. Bradley Block: It’s funny, I follow someone on LinkedIn who’s a physician who [00:30:00] talks about AI and I feel like he had a stream of LinkedIn posts that were all written by AI.
Dr. Mike Woo-Ming: Probably.
Dr. Bradley Block: I didn’t read any of them. Like you see the first line and they’re AI is so verbose. Like anytime you look something up in chapter G P T, it doesn’t give you a concise answer. It’s like, I didn’t have time to write you a short letter, so I wrote you a long one. And so it’s it in terms of bedside matter, yeah. It might be good for some people because they get to talk as long as they want. I think we’re a long ways away from the actual bedside manner of a human being in front of you.
You had like a telemedicine visit with an AI, we can do that now, right? The technology exists. We take a picture of Mike, maybe a video of Mike, and then we can put that in AI form so that it looks like Mike is actually talking. We take your voice, we put it into an ai, and then we can type an answer and it looks like you’re the one actually talking.
So we can do tele ai, can do telemedicine, but [00:31:00] I don’t think, I don’t know if we’d ever get there because of the lawyers. Because the liability, ’cause the liability ultimately has to fall on a person and until we’re willing to trust it so much to make these decisions for us, that we can replace this completely.
It’s not, it’s just a tool, but I don’t think, yeah, I think bedside manner, I am not sure where that was from, but maybe in like text to text because then the person could really interact for as long as they wanted. But other than that, I don’t know how much AI is supplementing. Another way maybe using it for phone lines, answering questions like that before you get to a human.
So it seems like you’re talking to a human. I don’t know. But they’ll pass the Turing test that people are gonna be able to tell that it’s ai. I don’t know. But we’re getting a little far from my comfort zone and expertise. If you couldn’t tell.
Dr. Mike Woo-Ming: This has been great. I’m [00:32:00] thinking about all my interactions I’ve had, and one thing I also want to mentioning, I’ve had patients say, you’re a great, you’re a good doctor. You’re a great doctor. And it’s, a lot of it times it’s because I don’t really say a word I’m listening, right? But how would you handle patients who come in? Maybe they have printouts of stuff from the internet, they’ve got lots of things. They’ve got seven things that they wanna cover. You’re an ENT doctor or primary care doctor or whoever on there.
When do, is it effective to but in? When is it effective to do it? Because it’s definitely an art to do it and to do it effectively.
Dr. Bradley Block: So I think interrupting there are really two ways that I want to answer that. One is just interrupting the patient. When is it okay to interrupt? And I think it’s okay to interrupt whenever you’re helping them tell their story.
So like we see dizziness all the time. And dizziness is such a, can often be just this nebulous symptom. And so they have [00:33:00] trouble articulating it. It doesn’t mean they’re just like gonna abdicate that and be like, I’m not gonna try and tell you about it. They’re gonna try 11 different ways to tell you about it.
And so, it’s our job to be able to help them focus. And in order to do that, you have to interrupt them. So if you’re interrupting them, to help them tell their story, you have my permission to interrupt your patient. I wouldn’t do it so quickly. So I think your first impulse to interrupt, you should suppress in order to help them have a little more time to be able to tell their story.
Because they do have something they need to get off their chest. They do have something they need to tell you. So suppress that. Let them talk for a bit. And then the second or third time you have an urge to interrupt them. Now you have my permission to interrupt them as long as you’re doing it a way that helps them tell their story.
So that was the first. The second thing is, when they come with a laundry list of all of the things that they want to talk about. You have to create boundaries. [00:34:00] You have to and so you can do that by saying, wow, you’ve really got a lot you want to cover today. And it’s really important to me that we get to everything.
And so we’re gonna have enough time today to talk about X and Y, but Z and I didn’t think of that. That we’re gonna cover at the next visit. So I need you to make an appointment here, actually. Here, come out with me. I’ll make the appointment with you. Like you need to do it in such a way that they still feel valued.
And yes, you’re managing them in that circumstance. But that’s fine because they’re leaving there knowing that you think that they’re, their concerns are valid and important to them. You have to take care of them in that way, so they don’t get the impression at all that their concerns are being blown off.
But at the same time, you need to recognize that they don’t have limitless time. That the person that has an appointment after them is just as important to them and the person that is trying to make an appointment and can’t, because you’re so full, because you’ve decided [00:35:00] that each patient can have in a half an hour, that’s not okay too.
You need to be, so it’s like a bit of a paradox where people need access to you, but the one isn’t more important than the other. So that’s where the boundaries come in. So I think letting them know that all of their issues are appointment, you’re gonna get to all of them, but just not all of them today is a way to make sure that those visits don’t last forever.
Dr. Mike Woo-Ming: Brad, this has been amazing. Great advice, and it goes beyond physician-patient relationships. We could be using these skills. Hey, I already know about how many people my family members, the next reunion, right? Your own relationships with your spouse and your kids. Great stuff. His podcast gets called The Physician’s Guide to Doctoring. We’ll have a link in the show notes where you can go and check it out and subscribe.
This has been great, Brad. Any last minute thoughts before we end the call today?
Dr. Bradley Block: No, just check out the podcast ’cause it covers so much. It’s hard for me to get all of that advice [00:36:00] into one interview and I’m sure I forget a lot of the other points that I like to make. So definitely check it out. ’cause we can all be better versions of, even if you feel like you’ve got this on point. Thinking about it, practicing it, bringing it into the office. We can all get better at it. We can all be the better versions of ourselves. And to your point to what you just said, having now studied this stuff for a while, definitely better at interacting with family members and friends and my kids. And so there’s, yes, it spills over into every aspect of your life.
And thank you so much for having me. Like I said at the beginning of the show, big fan, longtime fan, so it’s really an honor to be here.
Dr. Mike Woo-Ming: The same here. Thanks Brad. Again. His podcast is The Physician’s Guide to Doctoring. Go out and check it out. Work, as Brad says, we’d always can be working on ourselves, improving efficiency, improving the way that we talk with our family, our patients, our loved ones. It’s always about doing something simple every single day. Just get a few nuggets from this start [00:37:00] incorporating into your life and keep moving forward.
You’ve just listened to the BootstrapMD Podcast. For more valuable resources as well as past recordings of our show, check out our website at bootstrapmd.com. Now, let’s get to work.