Why a Strong Patient-Physician Relationship Keeps This Grateful Patient Healthier and Happier
Brian Gray with his dogs, Bailey and Ava.
Sometimes change is a good thing. Just ask Baltimore resident Brian Gray, 43. He had been seeing his former primary care physician for 15 years, and the experience was frustrating. "Making an appointment was always unpleasant," Gray said. "And I always felt rushed during office visits."
Finally, Gray decided to switch physicians and made an appointment with Dr. Vaibhav Parekh, primary care provider and director of Harbor Primary Care at MedStar Harbor Hospital. Gray noticed the difference from that first call. "I was able to get an appointment that fit my work schedule within a week," he said.
"At my first meeting with Dr. Parekh, he spent over an hour getting to know me and my medical concerns," Gray said. "I never felt like he was in a hurry."
Parekh's extra attention turned up a previously overlooked problem. A blood test Parekh ordered found that Gray had a low level of vitamin B-12 - a side effect of long-term use of prescription acid reflux medicine. "He started me on B-12 therapy, which greatly improved my energy," Gray said.
One-Stop Shop for Better Health
Gray also had long-standing issues with early arthritis of the knees. A month after his first visit with Parekh, Gray called the office again. He was having severe pain in one of his knees and Parekh saw Gray that same day. Even better, "I was able to give him cortisone injections in the knee, which provided immediate pain relief," Parekh said.
Gray appreciated Parekh's ability to quickly treat his pain. "On a scale of one to 10, I was at a 10 when I arrived at Parekh's office. Within three hours, my pain level was zero," Gray said. "And my copayment was lower than it would have been if I had seen an orthopaedic specialist." Staying mobile helped him keep up with the demands of his job as director of clinical engineering and environment of care at MedStar Harbor Hospital.
Parekh also removes suspicious lumps, moles and cysts using advanced laser techniques. "I think patients appreciate one-stop care," said Parekh. "They also feel at ease with me, because we're already well acquainted."
And for neighborhood patients who are no longer able to come to the office for their care, Parekh makes house calls.
An Ounce of Prevention
Regular visits to your primary care provider, even when you're not sick, are key to maintaining good health. "This is where the biggest opportunity is for us to prevent a disease rather than intervene once it has already started," said Parekh.
As Gray found, when there is a strong patient-physician relationship, an office visit doesn't feel like a chore or an inconvenience. "Dr. Parekh and I bonded quickly based on his caring nature," Gray said. "When I was in the exam room, I felt like I was his No. 1 priority. Later, he followed up with a personal phone call to see how well the treatment was working. I actually feel as if I have a friend in Dr. Parekh, not just a primary care physician."
"Dr. Parekh even gave me his cell phone number so I could call or text about how I'm doing," Gray said. "It's something he does for all his patients." A lot comes down to having a good relationship with your primary care provider. "Switching to Dr. Parekh was one of the best decisions I've ever made," said Gray. "He really goes above and beyond. Every patient deserves this kind of attentive, personal care."