“I went to the doctor who made the unfortunate comment about my tinnitus because I had an unrelated problem. She took me seriously, she diagnosed me correctly, she prescribed the appropriate medications, and I got better. Technically, flawless. She provided excellent care… …From a patient’s point of view, though, all it takes it one insensitive comment from the physician to lose that humanistic dimension. When my doctor made that remark, I relegated her to the impersonal role of provider, someone incapable of understanding my experience but capable of treating my physical problem”
Consider for one moment why this patient feels this talented and experienced Doctor has failed them:
“I was surprised by one doctor’s version of empathy: “Oh, yes, tinnitus can make you literally want to drive off a bridge”. Of course, this doctor doesn’t know that 18 months ago, I broke down in midtown Manhattan and wondered how I could live out the rest of my life at this rate. She assumes by my demeanor that I am well-adjusted and perhaps always have been. She doesn’t know that sometimes when I listen with my stethoscope for a patient’s heartbeat and I hear ringing, that familiar fear makes my own chest tighten. Or that sometimes I “indulge” in anxiousness when a tinnitus spike occurs that I cannot ignore. Or that the very condition she was treating me for was creating such a spike at that moment..”
1. The capacity and interest patients have (when provided with patient history taking tools) in sharing their personal information before they meet with their Doctor.
2. The benefits for Doctors when they are better prepared from reviewing this information before they consult with their patients.
3. The opportunity for adding value that exists when we better document consultations (and are prepared to let patients help us with this process).
I think this article has done a great job of highlighting the prevalence of the issues that exist as a result of a lack of information being shared between patients and Doctors and I can’t imagine we will continue to tolerate the failing of Patients and Doctors with unprepared consultations for much longer.
I wonder if mainstream adoption of these advanced consulting tools will come from patient demand for more value or the success of remote consultation providers (like 3G Doctor) who find them imperative to providing an economical means of serving the informational needs of patients?