Medical Modesty and the Patient Experience

PHOTO: SKRUPP

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.

About Urgent Care Magazine Staff

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3 comments

  1. Thank you for posting this article! It is important to educate urgent care centers about patient modesty.

  2. Thank you for posting this article! It is very important to educate the medical community about patient modesty.

  3. The double standard when it come to male patients is rampant and commonly practiced. I am glad that you have spotlighted the situation as it it leads many men to avoid care due to modesty concerns. Modesty isn’t just a “concern”, it is real and quite common among men. Staffs should be adjusted to address the needs of both male and female patients alike. Female MAs, Scribes and Chaperones are not ‘Gender Neutral”. I really can’t think of anyone who is gender neutral. Time to wake up and realize that being a successful business isn’t just about volume, it is about customer service also.
    DT

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