nos-trum. pronunciation: \nos'-trum\. noun. Etymology: Latin, neuter of noster our, ours.
1. a medicine of secret composition recommended by its preparer but usually without scientific proof of its effectiveness.
2. a usually questionable remedy or scheme.
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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Survey: What Patients And Doctors Want From Each Other

 
And whether they're getting it. 

Consumer Reports published a survey, but you can see the gist of it from the Wall Street Journal health blog (Feb 8).

For doctors:  Only a third of patients thought their doctor was "very effective" at relieving pain and discomfort associated with their illness.

For patients:  One third of doctors said their biggest complaint was that patients didn't follow the treatment plan, which affected the outcome "a lot."

The rest of the survey had the usual stuff about communication and respect, nothing very startling.

But I have one pet peeve.  I have a tough time with patients who research the internet and come in with a stack of stuff and a diagnosis, expecting me to sign off on their efforts.  They are commonly very bright people who don't realize that we all have blind spots in our thinking.  Among them are the need to believe what we want to believe and disregard evidence that we don't like.

I do it, too.   And I've confessed to it in my own care...where I led myself astray.

Dealing with a pre-determined internet-based evaluation takes time.  I need to find out what the patient is seeing, and why, evaluate their reasons for thinking so (never forgetting they are sometimes right on), then ease into a new starting point to investigate the original problem if the case they make doesn't stand up. 

All in a twenty-minute appointment.  It doesn't seem fair to either of us...or those in the waiting room.

I'm willing to make a contract with a patient that I won't disregard or denigrate any firm conviction they have, as long as they will open up to my need to consider the issue afresh.

That's a healthy doctor-patient relationship.

Doc D
 

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