Navigation Links
Doctors, Patients Rarely on Same Page
Date:7/29/2010

By Jenifer Goodwin
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, July 29 (HealthDay News) -- Doctors and patients are often out of sync with each other when it comes to what patients believe about their illnesses, including to what extent the patient is to blame and what's the best way to manage the problem, new research shows.

The underlying cause of the disconnect is a lack of communication, researchers said. Patients who were "active participants" in their care -- by asking questions, voicing opinions and sharing concerns -- were better understood by their doctors, according to the study.

"When patients speak up, stating their preferences, their beliefs and their concerns or worries, doctors get firsthand information about what patients think," said study author Richard Street Jr., a professor of communication at Texas A& M University and director of the health decision-making and communication program at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. "It's not surprising that doctors would get a better understanding of their patients."

The study is published in the July 26 online issue of the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

Street and Dr. Paul Haidet of Penn State University asked 29 primary care physicians and more than 200 patients to fill out a questionnaire that measured their beliefs about the illness or condition they were being seen for, including the underlying cause for the illness, the extent to which the disease was controllable, how much their behavior was to blame for the illness and the impact of the illness on their life.

"We found significant differences in what the patients believed about their health and what the doctors thought the patient believed," Street said.

Patients were more likely to blame themselves for the illness than doctors thought they would. Doctors also underestimated the patients' beliefs about how well they could control the condition; how much the illness impacted their lives; the ability of natural remedies to treat the condition; and the patient's desire to work in partnership with the doctor on treatment plans or managing the condition.

When asked to what degree an illness had a root biological cause, doctors thought patients would place more blame on uncontrollable factors such as germs or genetics than they actually did.

"When it comes to something like diabetes, the doctor may be thinking the patient doesn't seem to understand that part of the problem is what they are eating, but the patient is thinking, 'I know part of the problem is what I'm eating,'" Street said. "Or the doctor may think, 'This patient just really wants me to take care of this problem for them and make all the decisions,' while the patient is thinking, 'I really want to be very much involved in making decisions for myself.'"

Instead, doctors' beliefs about what their patients were thinking tended to mirror their own opinions or thoughts about the best way of dealing with an illness, Street said.

"We generally tend to believe other people look at the world the same way we do, when in fact they often don't," Street said. "Doctors and patients ought to be on the same page. What our findings indicate is they are often not on the same page, but doctors often think they are."

The disconnect was even more pronounced with minority patients, according to the study.

In listening to recordings of what transpired during the medical exam, an analysis found that doctors had a better understanding of patients who asked questions and stated their preferences.

The study found no association between the number of times a patient had seen a doctor and how well they understood each other.

Dr. David Ansell, chief medical officer at Rush University Medical Center, said the lack of understanding between doctors and their minorities patients especially needs to be addressed.

"We have a disconnect between what doctors think and what patients think, and that disconnect is more profound when it comes to doctors with Caucasian versus African-American or Hispanic patients," Ansell said. "In our increasingly diverse society, there is a need for better cultural competency skills."

Ultimately, a better understanding between doctors and their patients may mean better outcomes for patients, Ansell said. Even in hurried practices, asking patients a few questions about their thoughts, worries and beliefs can reveal a lot about what patients think.

Unless doctors ask, some patients will be reluctant to speak up for fear of offending or seeming as if they are challenging the doctor, Street added.

"Asking the patient what they are concerned about, what questions they have and what they think is going on with them gives the patient an invitation to share information," Street said.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has tips on making the most of your doctor's appointment through good communication.

SOURCES: Richard Street Jr., Ph.D., professor, communication, Texas A & M University, Houston; David Ansell, M.D., M.P.H., chief medical officer, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago; July 26, 2010, Journal of General Internal Medicine


'/>"/>
Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Brain MRI in children: Incidental findings yield disclosure dilemmas for doctors, patients
2. Insight on Herbals Eludes Doctors, Patients Alike
3. Popular diabetes drugs associated with fractures in type 2 diabetic patients
4. New transplantation criteria for liver cancer patients
5. Many knee and hip replacement patients experience weight decrease after surgery
6. Predicting drug responsiveness in cancer patients
7. Doctors dont get their patients
8. Study finds structural brain alterations in patients with irritable bowel syndrome
9. High doses of ursodeoxycholic acid ineffective for NASH patients
10. Depression overlooked in patients with hepatitis C; compromising HCV therapy
11. Avastin Largely Safe for Patients With Type of Advanced Lung Cancer
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Doctors, Patients Rarely on Same Page
(Date:7/24/2017)... ... July 24, 2017 , ... Engineers at the University of Maryland have ... same kind of electrical energy that the body uses. , In ordinary batteries ... flow of electrons out of the battery is generated by moving positive ions from ...
(Date:7/24/2017)... ... July 24, 2017 , ... Cheerag D. Upadhyaya , M.D., M.Sc., FAANS ... Institute (SLMBNI), part of Saint Luke’s Health System . Dr. Upadhyaya has ... Upadhyaya, MD. M.Sc., FAANS joins Stanley P. Fisher, M.D., who has served ...
(Date:7/24/2017)... Angeles, CA (PRWEB) , ... July 24, 2017 , ... ... will spotlight doctors and the cosmetic surgeries they perform on a daily basis. ... performing the cosmetic surgery procedures they specialize in at their practices. , When ...
(Date:7/24/2017)... ... July 24, 2017 , ... Horizon Goodwill Industries, ... opportunity that helps high school girls succeed in STEM programs as well as ... Goodwill will host over 20 high school girls at their corporate headquarters on ...
(Date:7/24/2017)... , ... July 24, 2017 , ... ... total in scholarship awards to be awarded annually to and divided between two ... interest in bringing awareness to Amazonian plant medicine. To apply for the scholarship, ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:7/25/2017)... 2017  Debbie,s Dream Foundation: Curing Stomach Cancer (DDF) is excited to host ... at the Bonaventure Resort & Spa in Weston, Florida ... Luncheon ... Zelman, and Luncheon Committee Co-chair Sabrina Kurzman. ... Aura Morales-Guzman, Angela Perez, DDF Board ...
(Date:7/24/2017)... 24, 2017  Diplomat Pharmacy, Inc. (NYSE: ... second quarter 2017 operating results on Monday, August 7, ... follow at 5:00 p.m. ET. ... a live broadcast of the conference call by dialing ... code 51641230 approximately 15 minutes prior to the call. ...
(Date:7/21/2017)... SILVER SPRING, Md. and RESEARCH ... -- United Therapeutics Corporation (NASDAQ: UTHR ) ... 2017 financial results before the market opens on Thursday, ... United Therapeutics will host a teleconference on Thursday, July ... is accessible by dialing 1-877-351-5881, with international callers dialing ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: