Walk with a Doc Newsletter
Well, it’s a secret no longer.
What follows is a nearly 25-month investigation launched in early March 2017. While at times we’ve been overshadowed by another federal report, we’ve been consumed performing our own probe here at Walk with a Doc.
Today, April 26th, 2019, we present to you our unredacted findings on the underworld of‘Patient Shopping’.
Many of you have are aware of the concept of Doctor Shopping. Doctor Shopping is defined as the practice of visiting multiple physicians to obtain multiple prescriptions for otherwise illegal drugs, or the medical opinion that one wants to hear.
This specific investigation has nothing to do with that.
Our Special Counsel’s inquiry into Patient Shopping deals exclusively with fabric.
The seedlings of this probe took hold in early March 2017 when a private conversation was overheard in an outpatient clinic in suburban Chicago, IL. MD #1 was caught sharing with MD #2 how beautiful his first patient’s black cashmere sweater was. MD #2 was lamenting in response to how challenging it can be to find time to shop. MD #1 then shared, “You know…we have over 2000 people wearing different outfits walk through our doors every year. Hmmmmm”.
With that last comment, the investigation was launched.
In the 25 months that have transpired since, the Special Counsel has interviewed over 500 physicians, studied videos of 4,723 patient visits and consumed over 300 Impossible Burgers. In total, this sting has exposed 37 doctors (get it?) and 8 APPs (Advanced Practice Providers) guilty of ‘Patient Shopping’. Over this 2-year time frame, we’ve distilled our research so we could lay out Nine (9) Ways for You to Determine Whether or Not Your Provider is ‘Patient Shopping’.
We recommend being familiar with the list before your next office visit
Ways to Identify ‘Patient Shopping’
1.First the obvious. Your health care provider says, “Nice pants” or “Sweet blouse”.
G-d forbid, they ask “Where did you find these socks”’?
2. When the physician is auscultating your lungs, they gently pull back on your shirt collar to get a look at the label. If they stop to take notes after listening, they’re writing down the brand. I promise.
3. The doctors ask if they can take a close-up photo of your garment sleeve or pant leg. Make no mistake, this “benign” photograph is akin to a human DNA sample. They now make apps with algorithms that will not only identify the shirt, size, maker, and local distributors but also tell you the best price, location or even deliver the item to your doorstep within 2 days; all based on that image you send them.
Do you know what’s sick? It will even tell you how many days since that particular item had been washed.
4. Another telltale sign is a Distracted Provider. This interaction was recorded in late July, 2018.
Patient #1: “Ever since the 17th, when I kicked the door my right foot has been swollen, purplish and my 3 inside toes are numb”
Physician #3: Never averting stare from Patient #1’s Limited Edition White Kangol Fedora“Uh huh. I hear you, that sounds horrible. Let’s address that right now. Nurse, please grab a 16 Foley (urinary catheter) and the SurgiLube?”.
Does this help illustrate the importance of what we’re addressing?
5. Four (4) separate providers that have been identified on video (btwn Nov 2017 and March 2018) rubbing the fabric of the patient’s sleeve between their thumb and forefinger while listening to the carotids (neck arteries). If it hadn’t been for the cameras, they may have gotten away with it.
6. One particular egregious female offender in St. Louis asked a male patient wearing a popular winter coat (The North Face’s Thermoball Triclimate) to stand up from their chair, walk to the edge of the room, turn around, walk back and take his seat. Like a model on a catwalk. I’m sorry, but no patient deserves to be treated like Zoolander.
7. We have noticed a dramatic 61% uptick in ‘Patient Shopping’ within 48-72 hours of thebirthday or anniversary of the physician’s spouse.
How in the he** am I supposed to know when the doctor’s spouses birthday is?
Look, don’t yell at me! I’m just here to report the facts.
8. We’ve noticed a pattern of ‘fishing’ with some providers. Statements like, “Wow, isn’t Lane Bryant a great store?”. In all instances but two, these comments are made totally out of context. What our “fishermen” are hoping for is a response such as, “I don’t know. I do all my shopping at Kohl’s” or something like that. Bam, the doc’s out the door headed to Kohl’s.
9. This one is super interesting. As we distilled the data, we’ve identified that male physicians will not ‘shop’ for neckties, however female physicians will. Why? The males, who would be wearing their ties at the medical office, know that this is not recommended.While the odds are overwhelming that the female docs’ partners would not be wearing these ties in that setting. Odds suggest they would not be in the healthcare field.
As we wrap up, I envision that there will be plenty of you who are very upset you just wasted 7 minutes of your life as we pull the cover off ‘Patient Shopping’.
Do you think it’s easy for me? Do you think I just make this stuff up?
Let’s all just calm down and deal with the real question before us.
Are we going to deal with this head-on like adults, or are we going to just keep pretending it doesn’t exist?
Consider this official report from our Special Counsel as simply a document, an important document. A document that increases your awareness for your next visit with your provider(s).
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