Is My Physician a Good MPN Doctor?

  1. Does the staff physician conduct most of the visit or is the bulk of the visit performed by a resident, medical student or physician extender (e.g. PA, RN, etc)?
  2. Is the physician board certified in hematology or only in medical oncology?
  3. Does the physician stay current on research relating to MPDs?
  4. Does the patient feel comfortable in the presence of the physician and feel as though the patient and the state of his/her health is important to the Doctor?
  5. Does the physician welcome an informed patient and trust the patient’s ability to inform themselves from research and educational sites?
  6. Does he/she explain the nature and prognosis of the disorder in terms that are understandable to the patient? Are the physician’ explanation realistic but sensitive to the patient?
  7. Is the physician attentive to what the patient has to say and readily responsive to the patient’s concerns, as opposed to talking “over” the patient? Does he/she involve the patient in the decision process?
  8. Does the Doctor return patient telephone calls within a reasonable time in light of:
    1. The reason for requesting a return call, and
    2. The physician’s schedule in seeing other patients?
  9. Does the patient have confidence in the physician’s diagnosis being correct and the physician being knowledgeable about the appropriate treatment for the particular disorder?
  10. Does the physician explain possible side effects of prescribed medications and/or treatments?
  11. Does the physician order CBCs (and other tests if applicable) sufficiently in advance of scheduled office visits for the physician to have the results by the time of the appointment? Does he/she order blood tests more frequently if there is concern about the likelihood of there being a change during the planned lapse between appointments?
  12. Does the physician monitor your blood counts? This may require weekly, monthly or less often lab tests.
  13. Does the physician pay attention to CBC and other test results when received from the Lab, and either discusses them with the patient or have a nurse (not secretary) discuss and make changes in treatment as may be indicated? Does the physician make treatment decisions based on up-to-date lab results?
  14. Are the physician’s goals for CBC results consistent with accepted practice by experienced MPN doctors, and sufficient to maximize the patient’s quality of life?

by Larry Milnes