Wednesday, April 22, 2015
Should Doctors Give Patients What They Want? Part 2
Many times patients think that physicians don’t listen to them, but physicians are some of the best listeners I have known. There have been times when I have shadowed doctors, and patients will attempt to tell long winded stories that do not aid in treating their malady. The doctor will cut them short in a polite way and attempt to get to the bottom of the problem at hand. It may seem like the doctor does not care for the patient’s story, and that may be the case, but most of the time the doctor has many other patients that are also waiting. In an effort to spread his or her time evenly between all of the patients, the doctor must cut the patient short and not “listen.” If the reimbursement program were to come into effect, it would create a catch twenty-two. If the doctor spends more time with one patient, then other patients will be angry for having to wait. If the doctor spends less time with one patient to tend to others, then that patient will feel unsatisfied.
The doctor should make an effort to explain certain procedures and medicines to the patient, but also, the patient should realize that they will not have the same understanding as the physician. The physician is the expert in the room. In the field of oncology, many patients don’t fully understand the tolls that chemotherapy takes on their bodies. In a study concerning a patient’s knowledge, over 60% of lung cancer patients and over 70% of colon cancer patients did not realize that chemotherapy was not curative. Another finding suggested that the more patients understood their situations, the more they disliked their care provider. The more the patients are educated, the more they realize how much they do not know resulting in feelings of dissatisfaction. If oncologists were to educate all of their patients, these findings suggest that these physicians would have some of the lowest satisfaction scores for doing a better job.