By Dr. David Lindstrom, MD
There are many healthcare options of various sizes for individuals and families in our community; some belong to national networks and a few are genuinely local. With medical training being equal and resources similar no matter what option, there is something grounding and satisfying about living and working in the same community.
I grew up in the Everett area and attended Everett High School and while I left for college, medical school and residency, I came directly back to Washington State to establish roots with my family and my work. After finishing my residency in Denver, my first “job” was here at Western Washington Medical Group (WWMG), and I’ve owned my own practice for more than 17 years. The majority of my staff has been with me for more than 10 years.
There’s a difference between a corporately owned and a locally owned independent group. The former option will take your preferred location into account, but they are more than likely trying to fill-in providers where needed. It could be a while before a physician can transfer to their ideal practice location.
This is not only challenging to providers, but patients as well. The idea of building a relationship with your physician, and their staff, may be short-lived. When physicians are rotated through the system, a patient may not see who they want at each visit. I hear the classic complaint from new patients, that they never saw the same physician and may have been assigned to someone else. In most cases, they weren’t informed or consulted.
When patients see physicians at WWMG, they won’t feel rushed. We’ll likely spend time talking about our families, backgrounds, the reason for their visit, so they feel they are listened to and valued. And, this is good for the community because we live and work here. I see patients in my everyday life outside of my practice. A good example: I recently went to breakfast at a local diner with a friend and as I was sitting there, two separate patients came in and we all exchanged a “Hi, how are you doing.” I see my patients at the dry cleaner, bank, grocery store, you name it. They feel like we genuinely know them and care about them.
I believe everyone in our profession honestly has patient care as their main intent, to what degree you’re able to achieve it – economies of scale, fluidity of scheduling, consolidation – determines how it is received. The benefit of being local is that the decisions are made much quicker and with greater participation, so patients feel like we genuinely know them.
What I have found is that with the close relationships we foster with our patients comes great responsibility. My patients hold me to a higher standard and I also hold myself to a higher standard. It’s what makes us all better. If I don’t help my patients get stronger and better, I understand firsthand what the impact will be for them and their families. This is what fosters a sense of community for the providers and the patients. And it’s why I choose to practice at a genuinely local, independently owned medical group.
Dr. David Lindstrom, MD practices family medicine at two Everett locations. Dr. Lindstrom chose family medicine because of his love of talking to people and learning about what really matters to them. He has built strong, long-term relationships with many of his patients and they feel like family. In his spare time, he likes to play soccer, hike and ski and spend time with this family. He is board-certified by the American Board of Family Medicine and attended medical school at the University of Cincinnati and his residency at St. Anthony Family Medicine Residency Program in Denver, Colo.