*Discussion Topic: Navigating Depersonalized Health Care

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Mrs. Dani
Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2009
Total Posts : 2787
   Posted 3/29/2011 12:38 AM (GMT -6)   
Navigating Depersonalized Health Care
Do you feel that health care is too impersonal?
Do you feel like you have a healthy relationship with doctors and specialists?
Impersonal Medicine
"...First you spend an interminable 45 minutes in the waiting room. Then, shivering nervously in a flimsy paper gown, you wait some more in the exam room. Finally, the door opens and Dr. X enters, your chart in hand. He asks (without taking his eyes off the paper in front of him) why you're there. He is so clearly rushed that you become flustered, forget all the questions you were planning to ask, and instead mumble a few cursory comments. Only later, back at the receptionist's desk when you're paying the bill, do you get annoyed..."
"...I don't know about you, but my wife and I have always been careful about choosing our family physician. We want our family physician to know about us and to develop a long-standing relationship so that if a medical emergency occurs we will feel confident that our family doctor will take all this into consideration and present us with the best options to treat us.

This would be especially true if it was a visit to the emergency room whereby a family member was in need of health care. It would be a sense of relief when your family physician entered the ER and you could trust that the care they wanted to deliver was based on good health care and the relationship. If your doctor said he wanted to admit your family member to the hospital, you could feel your doctor would see a family member through this hospital stay.

Unfortunately, this is no longer true."

~~>  VIEWPOINT: Medical care is becoming too impersonal

Doctors And Patients, At Odds
"I, as patient, say stop acting like you know everything," he wrote. "Admit it, and we patients may stop distrusting your quick off-the-line, glib diagnosis."

Doctors say they are not surprised. "It's been striking to me since I went into practice how unhappy patients are and, frankly, how mistreated patients are," said Dr. Sandeep Jauhar, director of the heart failure program at Long Island Jewish Medical Center and an occasional contributor to Science Times.

He recounted a conversation he had last week with a patient who had been transferred to his hospital. "I said, 'So why are you here?' He said: 'I have no idea. They just transferred me.'

"Nobody is talking to the patients," Dr. Jauhar went on. "Everyone is so rushed. I don't think the doctors are bad people - they are just working in a broken system."

~~> Doctor And Patient, Now At Odds

Effective Doctor-Patient Communication

"...There are more challenges than ever in today's healthcare environment. Limited appointment time, the ability of patients to do their own research which then needs to be discussed with practitioners, and the numbers of patients who are undiagnosed or misdiagnosed; these challenges and others make effective communications between patients and their practitioners more important than ever. "

~~> .com/od/therightdoctorforyou/a/docpatientcomm.htm href="http://patients.about.com/od/therightdoctorforyou/a/docpatientcomm.htm">Doctor Communications

"Researchers who conducted interviews a few years ago with 192 patients at the Mayo Clinics in Scottsdale, Ariz., and Rochester, Minn., identified seven "ideal physician behaviors." Patients want their doctors to be "confident, empathetic, humane, personal, forthright, respectful and thorough,"

~~> Well Chosen Words At The Doctor's Office

Steps That May Help You

  • Be organized before arriving at the doctor's office. Come prepared with information about your symptoms, how long you have had the symptoms, what -- if anything -- you have done to treat them at home. Also, be prepared to discuss your lifestyle, habits, etc.
  • Bring a list of medications you take including dosage and frequency (or the actual medication bottles).
  • Also before your visit, prepare a list of questions you may have about your symptoms or condition. Check off the questions as they are answered so you know you have covered everything.
  • Be prepared to talk about your family's medical history, as well as your own, including any major medical events. Bring a list of your immunizations and medical history, if possible.
  • Make sure you provide your doctor with complete information about your condition   --  don't hold back. This may mean relating some very personal information, but it is in your best interest to help the doctor determine the best course of treatment.

    ~~> Communicating with Your Doctor  
    ~~> Successful Communication
    ~~> Tips for Talking to Your Doctor
    ~~> How to Talk to Your Doctor or Nurse



  • TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood
    And sorry I could not travel both
    And be one traveler, long I stood

    Chronic Pain Moderator

    Veteran Member

    Date Joined Jul 2009
    Total Posts : 2042
       Posted 3/29/2011 5:20 AM (GMT -6)   
    Several years ago when I had a major case of pneumonia I was transferred from our local hospital to a major regional one, which also happened to be a teaching hospital. While my care was thoroughly overseen by a team of experienced doctors my day to day care was managed by an intern who came in to check on me several times a day. Just before one such visit he was admonished by one of the instructors for spending too much time with the patients in his care and becoming too friendly with them. This young doctor had a habit, or made a practice of talking to his patients about both current medical issues as well as general topics. He had a way of getting his patients to open up about things they may not have mentioned before.

    When he came into my room that day I told him to take what his instructor just said and chuck it down the toilet. I also told him that what he was doing, how he was treating his patients was the right way to go because the more comfortable we are with our doctors the more we openly we will talk to them and in the process the doctor may find that one clue that could mean life or death for his patient. I told him that not only do patients want a technically competent doctor but we also want one we can trust, in other words we want to consider our doctors our friends.
    2 confirmed herniated lumbar discs. Spinal Arthritis. Spinal Stenosis, diabetic peripheral nueropathy.

    Monty's Mom
    Veteran Member

    Date Joined Aug 2010
    Total Posts : 664
       Posted 3/29/2011 10:20 AM (GMT -6)   

    Thank you for beginning this topic! I want to start with that and wishing you well. I know things are hard for many of us right now, and you as well. Thank you for continuing with caring for all of us here with everything you do each day. This place is a light to me on days of darkness and you and the moderators are to thank for that!

    I am very blessed with my doctors. My PCP I knew on a professional level before the pain issues drove me to seek her help. I had been her patient for 10 years before CP took over, and with knowing each other from a doctor/patient and outside of that relatinoship, it helped her to see the change in me. So many doctors see us only at our worst which doesn't allow them to see us as the typical person some times. When I was an MA, I can remember seeing patients outside of our office in our small town, and not recognizing them easily because they were feeling better than when they sought out their cardiologist.

    My pain management doctor I had actually spoken to on the phone several times in the job I had to leave with CP. I didn't realize that until he brought it up. He brings up not just the pain, but how things are at home, what you do each day, diet, exercise, your pets and coping skills. He touches family issues too. He takes at least 30 minutes with each of my appointments and I know he has other patients that take longer. When my surgery issues came up, he was available by phone many times to answer questions.

    What makes or breaks a doctor's office is the staff! If you walk in an office and constantly see unhappy faces who treat you with no respect or worse yet, as though they are doing you a favor, are you likely to continue to seek treatment from that doctor or practice? No one can have staff that are constantly perfect, that is an unrealistic idea, but the happiness or willingness of the doctor's staff to help you says much about the doctors who practice there. I know both at my PCP and PM doctor, there are men and women who have been there for years and are kind and helpful. There are some who are there for a while but are not as nice, and the ones who are rude are quickly removed from the payroll.

    Doctors don't have it made either. They work hard and long hours with some heavy responsibility. They don't know all, though some of them pretend to, and many times must make decisions based only on someone else telling them how they feel. I wouldn't want to be in their shoes at any time. I have been treated by both good and bad doctors, ones who listened, ones whose only thought was to get me out of the office as fast as possible.

    What I see as obstacles are not just doctors but nurses, support staff and administrators. We are all being rushed out of an office, an appointment, therapy, a hospital room. Healing from an illness or surgery isn't the same for everyone. Telling one woman who has had a C section that she gets 3 days only in hospital because that is what every woman gets is ridiculous. What if she has complications? What if there are issues? Why have we come to a point where we put time limits on healing and health? I know with my experiences, I don't heal or bounce back as quickly as others do, and it drives me crazy. I have to fight my insurance and in the past my doctor to be heard that something was still wrong and going on when they were ready to dismiss me from treatment because the healing time was up. Its no different in PT or water therapy. If you continue to get benefit from it, it should continue, right? But it doesn't, because someone, somewhere decides that you aren't making enough "progress" to continue paying or that simply they will no longer pay for it.

    Somewhere along the way it became all about making money and not about improving the health of others. It is now a business, being a doctor or in healthcare, and not an aspiration to make life better.

    I am getting down off my soapbox now. Sorry that I took up so much space!
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