What about patient responsibility and clear discharge advice instead?
I get it. We want patients to be safe.
It would be ideal for all patients to always follow up with their family doctors just to ensure there is no fever, no infection, no shortness of breath, no pain, and so forth.
But family doctors, and the medical system in general, frankly do not have the capacity for such ideals any longer.
Is it callous and unreasonable to believe that patients could actually be empowered and given some responsibility in their care? Could patients not be given clear discharge advice that includes what worrisome things they should watch for? and then seek medical attention if those things occur?
Instead of simply advising patients to:
“follow up with your family doctor”
“follow up with your family doctor
*if* you experience any fever, infection, or severe pain”
I’d still point out, though, that if a post-operative patient develops any of those red flags, it’s the surgeon she needs to be seeing immediately, not the family doctor. And if the ultra complex medical patient runs into complications, it’s the specialists she most appropriately needs to see.
If the patient recovers as expected without complication, as many do, then that saves the entire system a visit and some capacity.