For quality, thorough care practitioners in women’s obstetrics and gynecology must harbor compassion
Over the last five decades, the world of women’s obstetrics and gynecology has seen fundamental shifts in how the medical field is practiced. There have been groundbreaking technological advances that have drastically improved preventative, diagnostic care and treatment. However even with the advancement of technology, some physicians say that the doctor-patient relationship has weakened, and in the last few years, there has been a shift to return to a more personable approach.
This return to a deeply compassionate and comprehensive approach is, in part, why a women’s obstetrics and gynecology practice like Dr. Lona Sasser in Coral Springs, FL is able to build long-lasting relationships with our patients, and why we are able to offer thorough care that can be preventative care.
Incredible technological advancements in women’s obstetrics and gynecology
To cover all the technological progress in women’s obstetrics and gynecology would be far too much to cover in an article like this. However, it is worth noting a few fundamental advancements. One example is that of the 3D, and now 4D ultrasound technologies. What was once famously an almost indiscernible black and white sketch, can now be a highly detailed portrait-like rending of your fetus, that can even help assess fetal behavior.
2d ultrasound. Source
3d/4d ultrasound. Source
Other advancements include the improvements in cancer detection, fertility, and there is even the anticipation of emergent technology like robotic surgery in the field of gynecology. The last example, however, begs the question: as technology continues to advance and push ahead, how does that change the relationship between physician and patient in women’s obstetrics and gynecology?
Doctor-patient relationships through the years—Advances in technology
In a piece published by MDEdge, veteran OBGYNs spoke about the shift in the physician-patient relationships. In the past, physicians for women’s obstetrics and gynecology (specifically, gynecologists) were seen as sort of general practitioners, and “[r]elationships back then were much closer because we had time,” says Ronald J. Pion, MD, an OBGYN for nearly 50 years.
However, while this is partly true, it’s important to note that this wasn’t necessarily extended to all women in the U.S. African-American women (and other minority women), historically and currently received significantly poorer quality care than white women. Even today these disparities are prevalent. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in 2019, “African-American, Native American and Alaska Native women are about three times more likely to die from causes related to pregnancy, compared to white women in the United States.”
So while today we wonder how technology and work trends may shift doctor-patient relationships, the question is not about debating the technology, itself, but rather, how do we hold on to compassionate, trusting relationships, and work to extend that to all women.
Compassion is key to long-term care in women’s obstetrics and gynecology
Compassion allows doctors to build in time for their patients to be heard, to be cared for, and to have their questions answered. Women who feel unjudged, safe, and supported by their OBGYNs seek their advice on any problem or concern. This means they reliably come in when they have concerns, they attend their yearly well-women exams and get the necessary screenings, all of which play important roles to catch potential issues early, before they develop into more serious problems. It also means that physicians get to really know their patients and advise them accordingly.
While the trend for the field of women’s obstetrics and gynecology seems like doctors are losing touch with their patients, Dr. Sasser’s practice believes in maintaining that underlying framework of trust and compassion.