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Survival instincts propel 'difficult patient' to insist on quality care
Date:9/10/2008

tricky proposition. By advocating for myself, I risk incensing the person on whom I depend for care."

Efforts have been made recently to get patients more involved in their health care, Mayer said. She references health literacy initiatives, public reporting of quality indicators and consumer-directed health care. While these approaches aim to get patients more involved with their own treatment, they will fail if physicians are unwilling to make the transition to more patient-based care, she said.

"I don't regret being difficult," she writes, "but I do regret that so many people must settle for substandard care because they lack what it takes to advocate for their own needs."

She concludes: "We must rethink a system that disproportionately rewards medical testing and procedures rather than thorough and complete histories and physical exams. But ultimately, improvements in patient-provider communication will require a willingness to bridge the deep divide created by notions of professional dominance and a passive patient role. We will need to encourage patients and physicians to relate to each other as fellow human beings, each with much to bring to the examining table."


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Contact: Patric Lane
patric_lane@unc.edu
919-962-8596
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Source:Eurekalert

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