Building A Doctor/Patient Relationship

August 18, 2006

From the 34th Annual Meeting - Chicago, Illinois - November 2005

watch video interview in Windows Media

Paul A. Pietro, MD: We are sitting with Dr. Wayne Whitted at the Association of Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgeons to talk a little bit about what are the patients’ expectations of their gynecologic caretakers. First off, can you tell us a little bit about your training and enlighten us on the expectations?

R. Wayne Whitted, MD: Yes, I graduated from Loma Linda University, trained at Wilford Hall, United States Air Force Medical Center. Did my time with the military in Germany, where I was the Director and Chief of the ObGyn Department at the Midland Air Force Base. Since that time, I was in private practice in San Antonio, Texas, for seven years and I put together the first menopause clinic in a gynecology-only practice in San Antonio. Because I wanted to be involved in research, I went on to the University of Miami and developed a gynecologic curriculum at the University of Miami, based on minimally invasive surgery and also menopause. After doing a fair amount of research at the University, I went back out and got into private practice and set up a minimally invasive surgical gynecologic practice in Miami with Dr. Pietro.

My experience suggests that what women are really looking for in a gynecology practice is not only a diverse practice, but a practice that suggests expertise. What we find in Miami is that women not only want to be taken care of in a clinical office setting, but they also want their physician to be able to take them into the operating room and solve their problems. In that, they also want you to be able to tell them what all of their options generally are in a particular disease setting. One of our common complaints we see in our practice when patients come to us is they were not told all of their options, so we feel it is very, very important to tell patients.

The other thing I think women are seeking when they are looking at their health care is timely health care; for instance, in our practice, we have same day appointments, same week appointments and certainly no longer than one week before you are seen. They want, again, expertise, so we provide them with our certifications. It is a transparent practice. They want to be greeted with kindness and compassion and they want to be taken well care of by the office staff. They want a clean environment and they want an environment that is pleasing to the eye. So in our particular case, we have put together a practice that has soothing, calm colors, we have a practice that is well decorated and it is very inviting.

One of the things we did in our practice because we thought our approach is to look at the mind, body and spirit as a whole is we put together a CD of mixed healing music which we give to our patients who are under tremendous stress, who are pre-surgical and heading to the operating room. We want them to listen to this music; we want them to incorporate it into their daily life so that it then helps their immune system and prepares their body to heal from either their stresses or their surgical procedure. This CD has been compiled by us from researched music that looks at particular chords and how it impacts the body. It is a very interesting set of research about music.

Paul A. Pietro, MD: So you are saying that you take a very holistic approach to the patient not just a clinical, medical approach?

R. Wayne Whitted, MD: Absolutely. When our patients have difficulties in their lives, we keep track of that and we will call them two or three times a week to make sure they are getting resolution. Our surgical patients get called the same day they are discharged from the hospital so that they feel this personal touch and like they have not been abandoned. One particular thing we have noticed in women and their health care is they do not want to feel abandoned or as if you have taken care of the problem and now they are no longer important. So we continue to try and maintain this importance in our practice for each individual patient and I think it is very important to make this an individualistic process.