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Table of Contents
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 11  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 210

Woes of follow-up patients: A stumbling block, every cardiologist needs to intervene

1 Alva's Health Centre, Moodabidri, Karnataka, India
2 Department of Medicine, M. R. Medical College, Gulbarga, Karnataka, India

Date of Submission23-Mar-2021
Date of Decision08-Jul-2021
Date of Acceptance31-Jul-2021
Date of Web Publication25-Oct-2021

Correspondence Address:
Dr. B Sadananda Naik
Alva's Health Centre, Moodabidri - 574 227, Karnataka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jicc.jicc_16_21

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How to cite this article:
Naik B S, Biradar S. Woes of follow-up patients: A stumbling block, every cardiologist needs to intervene. J Indian coll cardiol 2021;11:210

How to cite this URL:
Naik B S, Biradar S. Woes of follow-up patients: A stumbling block, every cardiologist needs to intervene. J Indian coll cardiol [serial online] 2021 [cited 2023 Feb 3];11:210. Available from: https://www.joicc.org/text.asp?2021/11/4/210/329155


“My doctor has lost interest in me, nowadays he hardly examines me, I don't feel like going for follow-up visits.” These are the few utterances of several patients who turn up for regular follow-up visits after the cardiac interventional procedures. Their grievance is that, the cardiologist who used listen to them so patiently, hardly spends anyquality time with them during follow-up visits. The perceived woe is that their doctor just checks the medical reports, simply says everything is fine, and the session simply ends by the issue of the next appointment date. They perceive that their follow-up visits are simply waste of time and money.

Follow-up visits are the important part of the medical care of the patients following the discharge from the hospital. These visits give an ample opportunity for the treating doctor to have an insight into the overall recovery and improvement of the patients from an ailment and replan the treatment regimen.[1] These visits ensure the patient safety, and in addition, the patient gets reassured that they are recovering and being cared for. Any shortcomings here will have farfetched repercussions in the overall medical care and outcome of the patient's management.

It is possible that the treating doctors could be overpleased by the good outcome of their medical procedures and get carried away a bit. This could also make the doctors to get complacent and take their patients for granted. They fail to perceive and understand the expectations and emotions of their patients, who are otherwise doing fine. The end result is that the treating doctors would go easy on their patients who report to them with normal functional status and cardiac evaluation reports. The patients who are used to the detailed examination and long chat with their doctors during the acute phase of their illness, do expect the same warmth and enthusiasm from their doctors during every follow-up visits. They may feel let down, disappointed, and disillusioned, if the follow-up visits do not meet their expectations. A failure to pick up this kind of sentiments of the patients and a small communication gap of this sort could take a big toll on the patient–doctor relationship. It could well snow ball into a totally wrong decision from the patients, they may decide not to follow-up with the treating doctor. God saves them if these patients if they land up with wrong hands and all the good medical care would simply go in vain.

The patient engagement strategies for the follow-up visits, which is in fact applicable to all the medical professionals, should include spending quality time with them. The interaction and conversation should include enquiry about their physical functional status, family, and professional life, other than the routine medical history taking. This act of human touch would definitely make them feel better and cared for. The stethoscope, a magic wand in the hands of the doctors, should be used liberally and could make a world of difference for the patient if not for the cardiologist. Thus, all the efforts should be made to make the follow-up visits of the patients, more meaningful and above all medically valuable from patient point of view. A well planned follow-up visits could definitely prevent the re-admissions by timely identification of the impending complications.[2] A contended patient is always a good ambassador and asset for the professionals as well as the medical profession at large.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Wimble K, Yeong K. Improving patient follow-up after inpatient stay. BMJ Qual ImprovRep. 2012 Oct 24;1(1):u474.w148. doi: 10.1136/bmjquality.u474.w148. PMID: 26734149;PMCID: PMC4652674.  Back to cited text no. 1


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