Tuesday, February 8, 2011

What Doctors Want Patients to Know

Consumer Reports surveyed 660 primary care physicians about what they wish their patients knew and what they faced as professional challenges.  Some of the highlights are:
  • Doctors believed forming a long term relationship with the primary care physician is the most important thing a patient can do to obtain better medical care.  They believe continuity is really undervalued and patients who frequently switch doctors have more health problems and spend more on care than patients who have a relationship with one physician.
  • Doctors want respect and 70% said that respect and appreciation from patients had gotten worse since they started practicing medicine.
  • Doctors want patients to be compliant with advice or treatment and 37% said non-compliance affected optimal care "a lot".
  • Doctors don't think they are very effective at minimizing pain, discomfort or disability caused by a chronic condition.  Only 37% thought they were very effective, yet 79% of patients said their doctor helped to minimize their pain or discomfort.
  • Doctors want patients to know that each patient should keep track of their own medical history. Eighty nine percent said that keeping an informal log of treatments, drugs, changes in condition and tests and procedures would be helpful.  Eighty percent also thought taking a friend or relative to the office visit could be helpful.
  • Doctors are not convinced that online research is very helpful.  Only 8% thought it was helpful.
  • Doctors said the sheer volume of insurance paperwork was the number 1 thing that interfered with their ability to provide optimal care.  Financial pressures that forced them to see more and more patients and work more than 50 hour weeks to break even came in at number 2.
  • Doctors talk to drug salespeople more than patients realize.  The majority of physicians surveyed said they were contacted by pharmaceutical sales reps more than 10 times a month.
  • Doctors don't think patients knowing about malpractice claims or professional disciplinary action was of  value.  Only 17% of physicians surveyed said that information about disciplinary actions by medical licensing boards was "very valuable".
The survey was conducted online and that is certainly not a random sample of all primary care physicians.  The results are interesting but should not be interpreted as speaking for all doctors.

18 comments:

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KM said...

There should be something written about what Patients want Doctors to know to make care and treatment better.

Even though I have had some excellent physicians I know of some situations where some doctors by what they do and how they treat people deserve to not be respected at all. Also I have seen situations were physicians are not always right. My family was told a relative of mine would never walk again by doctors after a stroke and after working with a PT and much determination he walked again with a cain.

I have witnessed a doctor give a patient a clip board and say "sign this or you will be out in the street in the parking lot" this was done to a medicated patient and without being given any explanation about what it was he was asked to sign where or why he was going to be admitted to. This patient's behavior did not deserve this disrespect by this arrogant, rude insulting doctor at all. How would this physician like to have his family member treated like this or himself?

Being an MD or DO by it self doesn't deserve respect a patient's respect except for going through the extremely tough education and training but it is how the doctor cares for and treats the patient as if it is how he or she wants to be treated him or herself.

Rebecca said...

What do sales reps talk to doctors about when they call? I'm assuming that one thing is to try to get them to use their specific brands when they give them to patients? And when they do have patients use their medications, do the drs. get any sort of kickback?

Would this effect their care for patients? For example, instead of looking for a more natural, less expensive way to treat the problems, would they more likely prescribe the drugs since 1, it's easier & more time efficient, and 2, they get a little money for it?

Thanks for all your posts! They are so interesting!

Kellie said...

"Doctors don't think patients knowing about malpractice claims or professional disciplinary action was of value. Only 17% of physicians surveyed said that information about disciplinary actions by medical licensing boards was "very valuable".

I think this should be public record. I have never had a need to look this up myself but should be available to patients. Physicians who practice good medicine would not be uncomfortable with it because they would have nothing to hide. I'm sure both of my doctors don't have any disciplinary actions like this on their records.

Jennifer said...

I'm more concert with what the doctors don't want us to know. I'm getting a little pouch on my stomach also and will do my ab workouts routine starting tomorrow for 3 months

BrainDame said...

Great post-from a specialist perspective I have to echo particularly
1. the importance of a PMD (long standing, good relationship)
2. having a detailed medical log or similar (there are on-line resources now that may help) and
3. bring a friend or relative to EVERY office visit

Eye Creams said...

Doctors teat the patients In ever y possible manner but such that there are some tiny things which the doctors also expect from the patients. Therefore patients must also do that.

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