Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Why it is difficult to collaborate with your physician

Recently I read two articles in the NYTimes (1, 2), stating how doctor's and patients fail to communicate or collaborate meaningfully and why that is necessary.  I recently wrote about what questions I would ask a doctor when a doctor proposes a medical intervention whether that is a surgery, a medication or a test.
Here is the problem:  doctor's don't have the answers to these questions readily available and even if they did, they don't have the time to explain the answers to those questions.

1.  Guidelines and review articles often fail to present data in a clinically relevant way.  It is up to the individual physician to go through the studies in detail to translate the info into a clinically meaningful way.  Most docs don't have access to articles or time to do things like this.

2.  It takes me a good half hour to explain the proper use of Aricept for example or the role of cholesterol medications or when to do prostate cancer screening.  It takes time.  I don't have that time.

Good intentions are nice but the data as presented currently and the structure of the office visit as constrained by financial pressures makes collaborating more of a pipe dream.

1 comment:

HealthMessaging said...


I stumbled across your blog and really like your work. I too am a blogger and write on the subject of physician-patient interactions/communications. Many of your recent posts deal with the same general areas of interest as mine.

I have three questions - would you be open to allowing me to use some of your posts on my blog with the appropriate attributions and links back to your blog.

2 Would you be open to talking with me about the unique communications issues which you, as a geriatrician, believe make dealing with older folks more difficult (more challenging).

3. Want me to show you (for free) how to add twitter to your site so you can "get your great work" out there for more folks to see? I would include in that adding a contact link with your e-mail address.


Steve Wilkins
Mind the Gap