Communication Gaps Between Doctors and Patients
Ninety percent of the patients said they received a new medication and didn't know the side effects. Although 98% of physicians thought they discussed their patient's fears and anxieties with them, only 54% of patients thought they did.
The researchers from Yale University School of Medicine and Waterbury Hospital concluded: “Significant differences exist between patients’ and physicians’ impressions about patient knowledge and inpatient care received.” Moreover, responses didn’t significantly differ by sex, age, race, language or payment source, for the patients, or level and type of training, for the doctors.
A great deal of evidence exists that shows patients who understand their condition, are educated about medication and have good rapport with their physician have better outcomes. It is just common sense. I know that medical schools teach interpersonal relationships and the fact that so many physicians think they are doing it right makes me wonder how they can be perceived so differently by the patients.
Some possible explanations are:
- Patients are stressed while hospitalized and do not remember what is said.
- Many patients are heavily medicated and that affects ability to learn and remember.
- Doctors are too rushed and deliver information too quickly to be understood.
- Hospitalized patients have too many consultants and no one is identified as the "responsible physician".
- The trend to get patients out of the hospital quickly short changes communication time.
- Nurses, consultants and hospitalists don't communicate well together and the patient gets a different message from each visit.