Doctors have patients, not clients. Other businesses and professionals have clients. But what’s in a name? And does it really matter?
Well, I think it does, now maybe more than ever.
When I started in cosmetic medicine, back in 1995 or so, I always thought of those that I treated as “patients”. Then drug and laser company representatives came in and started talking about my “clients” and I started using that term sometimes. Then corporations, franchise clinics, and a variety of other non-doctors entered the cosmetic medicine arena, and they all tend to have clients, not patients.
The difference is this. A client is someone who buys a product or a service. They are generally seen by a salesperson, whose job is to make a sale, and often to sell as much as possible, to the client.
A patient, on the other hand, is treated or looked after by a doctor. The doctor is there to do the best that they can for the patient and works ethically and in the medical tradition to achieve the best outcome for the patient, whether that means performing a treatment, or just giving advice. The doctor is not (should not) be simply trying to “make the sale”. They always put the patient first.
The age-old adage is “the client is always right” – the client always gets what they want. If they want filler here or there, the salesman will do it, even if it’s not the correct thing to do. The patient, however, is not always right. They may think they need this or that treatment, when in fact it is not necessary, or they would benefit more from something else – which may well be a less expensive option.
To give an example, one of several similar situations just in the last week, I saw a young man who seriously had what I would call “rock star” looks. In fact, he looked not unlike a young Michael Hutchence. He was concerned about his nasolabial lines. They were quite normal and minimal, and I persuaded him that they did not detract from his appearance, that he did not need any treatment, and that attempting to improve them could well make things worse. After discussing this for some time he thanked me for giving him a new perspective. That is how a doctor should, in my mind, treat a patient. After I saw him I wondered what would have happened if he had of visited a franchise chain clinic and may be seen a salesperson keen to make quota.
So forgive me for being maybe pedantic, but remember that when you attend Envisage Clinic you will always be a patient, and we will always strive to put you first.