The Chicago Tribune reported on a phenomenon that urgent care centers would be wise to accommodate: medical modesty. Drawing on information provided by the nonprofit Medical Patient Modesty, the story highlighted the disconnect that sometimes happens between patients who have modesty concerns and the providers who serve them.
Not wishing to disrobe in the presence of a healthcare provider can have its roots in religious, cultural, or life experiences. And while those in a healthcare setting don’t give a second thought to accommodating women who wish to be examined by women, there appears to be less sensitivity to honoring the wishes of men who wish to only interact with male assistants, nurses, and doctors.
While the topic of medical modesty doesn’t appear to have been researched extensively, the concept is easy to grasp and relatively easy to implement in an urgent care setting. An intake form can include a modesty question, and a patient can be queried about modesty concerns prior to closing the door on the exam room. Protocols can be updated to increase sensitivity to medical modesty and to ensure that disrobing is requested only to the extent necessary for the patient’s presenting symptoms.
Patients with medical modesty often delay seeking healthcare and will travel to providers who accommodate their wishes. When an urgent care center incorporates an understanding of modesty into its patient-centered approach, chances are good that positive word-of-mouth will follow.