Welcome to Inashrestha's Blog; Different way to blog :D

Welcome to Inashrestha's Blog; Different way to blog :D

Friday, August 8, 2008

Are Doctors in Need of Treatment by Patients?

We love to refer friends to doctors we feel safe to highly recommend. Usually, our references are based on a combination of great bedside manner and medical expertise.

However, the doctor-patient relationship has reached a new level of discontent, according to the New York Times.

Research is showing us that patients are starting to not trust doctors. Data from a Johns Hopkins study published in 2008 states that patients are concerned that their doctors are exposing them to unnecessary risks. Patients are refusing to take their medication if they do not trust their physician.

39168734 Contributing to this distrust is the appearance of myriads of health books in local bookstores which are claiming to provide information "your doctor won't tell you." These books offer natural remedies to health problems instead of traditional medications.

Here are some of the major concerns that are creating a strain between doctors and patients:

The patient would prefer the doctor admit he does not know everything. Patients expressed that they are frustrated with medical staff that offer a quick "off-the-line, glib diagnosis" rather than admit "I don't know." It is better for a doctor to admit that the medical condition of his patient is beyond his own field of expertise and recommend another physician as an alternative.

The patient would prefer that doctors not act so rushed. Haven't you ever waited 15 minutes in the waiting room, and then another 40 minutes in the examination room to see the doctor. Finally, the doctor arrives and he seems rushed, preoccupied, checking his pager, unsure of your medical condition and gives you the impression he has not reviewed his notes concerning your case. I've also been with physicians who have spent more than 45 minutes providing me a thorough exam after a detailed interview about my medical condition.

The patient is dealing with a doctor also facing difficult times. To take the doctor's side for a moment, they are facing declining reimbursements and higher costs. Some medical facilities are now charging the patient for use of the examination room.

Doctors are also facing the reports coming out of the news media about medical errors and drugs once meant to help the patient, but now these same meds are causing liver damage or some other medical malady.

The patients are more medical savvy than ever before. Thanks to the Internet, I can do my own medical research. There are some incredible medical websites like webmd.com and medscape.com that provide you up-to-date information about new medical treatments, the latest pharmaceuticals and additional data on whatever illness you're dealing with. When I need to see a doctor after being diagnosed with a medical condition, I'll show up at my next appointments armed-to-the-teeth with the latest information I've downloaded from the Internet about my condition.

The downside of this surge of medical information from the Internet is that it can make the patient distrustful and skeptical of his physician. The patient wonders if doc is keeping up on the latest news on how other hospitals are dealing with kidney stones or whether he's a skeptic when it comes to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

The patients are at a loss with the language being spoken by doctors. The New York Times article points out that when a student attends med school, he or she is removed from the world of people for a period of time. One liver transplant surgeon at UCLA said of her patients, "We don't even speak the same language anymore." No wonder patients go to the Internet to figure out in plain English what is wrong with them.

Furthermore, many doctors, especially surgeons, are fearful of making any diagnosis that is not based on diagnostic imaging. Patients are suffering with chronic pain and doctors lack the courage to take bolder steps to help the patient through exploratory surgery or some equivalent unless backed up by evidence from diagnostic imaging. Let's bring medicine back to the place where doctors feel the freedom to make more diagnostic decisions based on their experience, research and years of medical wisdom.

Source: email from john tesh blog

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