ABOUT
Our Philosophy

At ANDSURGEONS, our excellent credentials, knowledge, technical skills and experience go without saying. What sets us apart is our unrelenting commitment to improve your situation, and our own performance.

Our commitment rests on the following three principles:

Focus on the individual

‘The good physician treats the disease; the great physician treats the patient’
(Dr. William Osler, physician)

With the introduction of public healthcare, medicine has gradually changed from a focus on the individual, to a focus on disease types. This is evident from the many guidelines, protocols and multidisciplinary teams which allocate patients into groups according to their disease type and dictate their clinical management based on scientific evidence generated for the average patient in the particular group.

Although we value the homogenization of some of the variability in treatment outcomes across different medical jurisdictions which this approach has brought, we also recognize that it has created a one-size-fits-all approach with little appreciation of the unique features of individual patients, their possible outlier status within their disease group, and the optimal timing (waitinglists) and continuity of care within the doctor-patient relationship. It is exactly this combination of factors we aim to bring back to medical care at ANDSURGEONS.  

Here’s how the concept of individual attention is reflected in our practice: 

Trust Trust is a critical element in every relationship, but it is fundamental to the interaction between doctor and patient. Where there is mutual trust, both parties feel confident being open and honest, more information is shared, and this increased knowledge translates into better treatment plans and outcomes. As a patient, sharing readily every detail about your medical issue from a place of trust, will help your doctor get to the core of your problem better. As a doctor, being able to open up about your strengths and limitations, helps finding the best treatment plan.

Empathywe are a family business, which means we have an understanding of what is important to families and their individual members. If it is important to us as parents, it must be important to you, and if it is important to our children, it must be important to yours. Our focus on the individual helps us to operate from a non-judgemental place, with great appreciation of the different walks of life that bring variety, color and strength to our communities. 

AccessibilityOur practice enables our patients to choose their preferred date, time and form of the appointment. Apart from physical appointments, we offer highly efficient email, telephone or video call appointments wherever this is appropriate. We also offer home visits for patients who are not in a position to come to the clinic. We make sure our patients can reach us during off-hours, including evenings and weekends.

Continuity of careWe work with a small team of professionals who know each other very well. This means our patients are not likely to have to switch doctors at any time during their journey with us. You will be seen by the same doctor for your entire trajectory, which will help you get to know your doctor and gradually build a relationship based on trust. Continuity of care through seeing the same person for each consultation prevents misunderstandings, errors and loss of information. All consultations and medical procedures are performed by us personally. We do not work with trainees or doctors who are not listed on our website. Building trust through continuity of care not only includes our medical team, but our entire staff. You will also get to know our assistants and nurses and trust them to help you with all paramedic concerns, appointments and administrative issues.

Short communication linesWorking with a small team enables us to effectively communicate and coordinate care. Our team is in direct and easy contact with each other. This means our assistants are able to pass on communications to the correct professionals quickly, ensuring you can trust any message or question you may have to come across to the right person at the right time. 

Personal contactWe entrust our patients with our professional contact details, so they can reach us at any time in case of urgent matters. Our patients can trust in our availability when needed, and we trust our patients to use this service discretionary.

 

A broader approach to your health problem 

‘When solving problems, dig at the roots instead of hacking at the leaves.’
(Anthony J. d’Angelo, author)

When it comes to health problems, it is important to distinguish primary root causes from secondary triggers. A trigger is a factor that starts a disease process which we might already be primed for by an underlying root cause. As an example, an accident may trigger a bone fracture, but the root cause for the fracture may be a dietary deficiency which makes the bone more brittle. If we fail to distinguish triggers from root causes, we risk misplacing the origin of a health problem, which may impair optimal treatment and future prevention. A broad approach is especially important in the head and neck region, where problems are commonly caused by root causes elsewhere in the body or in the patient’s environment.     

Here’s how you will see this commitment reflected in our practice: 

Attention to detail and sufficient appointment times – During your consultation, we strive to include all relevant aspects of life that do not always get the attention they deserve, such as your general sense of wellbeing, mood, work circumstances and family situation, but also your lifestyle, including diet, exercise pattern, sleep rhythm, daily stressors, and more. We approach your medical history as a detective –  even things that may seem trivial, can be of importance in helping to see the bigger picture. Aside from experience, this takes time and attention to detail, both of which is amply provided for at our intake clinic, Clinica Omega Zeta, owing to its flexible time limits for consultations. 

A low threshold for consultations with other specialists – In order to get to the bottom of your problem, we will not hesitate to involve other specialists in your care, in case we deem your problem to be (partly) outside of our expertise. At Clinica Omega Zeta, we are blessed with a very strong team of colleagues from a broad range of specialties, and if this is not sufficient we are happy to propose colleagues from our extensive (inter)national network. A low threshold for second opinions increases the chance for identification of your root issue, even if it means we cannot be a part of the solution. At the same time it will help us better ourselves by learning from others.

 

Promotion of patient autonomy 

‘Each patient carries his own doctor inside him’ (Albert Schweitzer, physician and philosopher). 

The ability to make our own decisions gives us a sense of control over ourselves and an often unpredictable outside world. This sense of control is important for our health and well-being, as it reduces stress, which helps to reduce inflammation, an important trigger of chronic disease (1). As health problems often strike randomly and unexpectedly, they tend to install a sense of chaos. Because we often don’t understand the problem, its causes, implications and possible solutions, health issues reduce our decisional capacity.

This in turn decreases our ability to manage and control the situation adequately. When we focus upon circumstances we can influence, if only to a small extent, we restore some order in the chaos. As an example, recurrent infections can seem to happen randomly and seemingly outside of our control. One thing we can control, however, is what we eat. By taking control over our diet we are positively influencing our outcome through 1) optimizing our baseline health by improving our lifestyle, but also 2) creating a sense of being in charge and an optimistic mindset, in order to improve wellbeing and associated health benefits. Respecting and stimulating our patients’ autonomy and providing them with tools to take control over their medical journey, helps us attain that positive feedback loop to optimize health outcomes. 

Here’s how you will see our focus on your autonomy reflected in our practice: 

Transparency Through sharing information openly, we empower our patients to participate in their medical trajectory and to understand the bigger picture we are working towards. Being given all the information you need will help you make better decisions and feel more confident about them.

Our patients have access to their medical records and have the ability to add or clarify information within their record, as well as easy access to laboratory and diagnostic test results. Our consultations include a balanced assessment of all risks and benefits of diagnostic and treatment options in order to be able to compare them accurately.

This process is not only guided by the strengths but also the limitations of available scientific and practical knowledge, in order to create a solution which is tailored to the individual situation. In case we recommend surgery or other invasive procedures, our informed consent procedure covers the same risks, and benefits but also alternatives to the proposed procedure.

We also value a ‘cooling off’ period after the discussion, during which you can take time to overthink things, discuss it with family and friends, and come to your own decision. This takes off the pressure, and helps our patients to come to an informed decision based on autonomy rather than dependency.

Educationit is one thing to be given all information readily, but another to fully understand it. It is our responsibility to make sure our patients understand all aspects of their condition, in order to feel engaged and gain a sense of control over their medical trajectory. We believe for example that patients must have a deep understanding of the impact of healthy lifestyle choices on their health, both in the present and long-term.

Studies have shown that we tend to forget about half of what we are told during a medical encounter, due to feelings of stress and anxiety, confusing and difficult medical terminology, and mode of delivery (spoken versus written) (2). We recognize that time is crucial to any educational process. As our consultations have flexible time limits, we are able to invest the time needed to discuss every detail of your condition and answer any questions that may arise.

We offer educational materials in your preferred format, whether this is a brochure or leaflet, a video or one-on-one teaching. We also share our letters and clinic notes with our patients digitally, in order to help them review and understand their own health information at their chosen time. 

Prevention over treatment It is often said that good surgeons know how to operate, better ones when to operate, and the best when not to operate. As much as we believe in surgical treatment and are trained to provide it, we believe in prevention and conservative management even more, as long as it is appropriate.

Our years of experience have taught us that medical interventions are priceless in well-selected patients, in whom the potential for side-effects is outweighed by the benefits. This is why we recommend medical interventions only as a last resort, when all preventative and conservative measures have been tried and tested. A focus on prevention over treatment will also promote autonomy by helping our patients to more actively participate in the management of their medical problem.       

Patient feedbackWe use patient centered care surveys following clinic encounters or episodes of care. These will help us understand what went right or wrong from your perspective and enable us to improve ourselves, and by doing so, improve your experience with us. 

We hope our philosophy appeals to you. But please do not take it from us, feel free to read our testimonials to see what other patients had to say about their experience with us.

 

References

  1. Avvenuti G, Baiardini I, Giardini A. Optimism’s Explicative Role for Chronic Diseases. Front Psychol. 2016 Mar 2;7:295. 

2. McGuire LC. Remembering what the doctor said: organization and older adults’ memory for medical information. Exp Aging Res 1996;22: 403-28