To the Editor:
It appears that the January cover illustration was intended to depict a typical family practice front office, but something important is missing: Not one of the three staffers is making eye contact with anyone.
The receptionist is focusing on the paper in front of her while a patient puts a note in the suggestion box nearby. Ideally, she should be thanking him for taking the time to give the practice some constructive feedback. At least she should look up and acknowledge his presence.
The woman in the foreground is doing some one-on-one patient education, but her focus is on the table instead of the patient. She should be trying to make the patient feel comfortable.
Finally, the three women have their backs to each other. This makes teamwork difficult. What happens if the telephone must be answered while one of them is talking on another line and the other one is responding to an urgent call from nature?
Dr. Gillette's points are well-taken, but in defense of our imaginary practice, we should point out that it does at least show a box for patient input, someone who takes time to do patient education and perhaps even, judging from one of the computer screens, someone who is in e-mail contact with patients.