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Posted on: Monday, May 8, 2000
Patients keep MD's in the dark email to the editor

From comes an article titled: "Patients Do Not Tell Doctors Their Concerns, Fears"

The article is based on a report in this week's issue of the British Medical Journal and explains that when visiting a medical doctor, "many patients do not voice many of the concerns that prompted them to make an appointment in the first place" according to researchers.

The BMJ report points out that "only 4 out of 35 patients were able to voice all their concerns to their physicians", but what is most important is the statement that, "the most unvoiced concerns included worries about a possible diagnosis, fears about the side effects of medication, and concern about being given an unwanted prescription."

According to the article, not discussing a patients concerns may lead to "miscommunication and unnecessary treatment" and in one case it was noted that, "a doctor prescribed antibiotics to a child because he thought the mother wanted them, when in fact, the parent had concerns about giving her daughter unnecessary medication."

The article addresses concerns that patients are having when meeting with doctors and suggests that patients may be behaving as "expected" and not as they would prefer. Patients that are reluctant to take drugs should feel free to say so and doctors should not "merely be prescribing medication."

Most unvoiced concerns when visiting an M.D. included:

diagnosis: (di = two + agnos = not knowing = both doctor and patient don't know)
fears about the side effects of medication
concern about being given an unwanted prescription

This is good news for chiropractors and their patients since for most, chiropractors do not diagnose, and do not prescribe drugs.

With medical doctors focusing on better communication with their patients and not just merely prescribing drugs, and chiropractors focusing on the practice of chiropractic and not just merely trying to duplicate medicine, and patients taking responsibility for their health and speaking up regarding their concerns to all types of health care practitioners, and not just hoping someone will fix it and pay for it, we will all be much better off as a society and as a planet.

I think good advice for all would be something a mentor once told me. "Tell them what they need to hear and not what you think they want to hear, tell them the truth."

BMJ 2000: How to improve communication between doctors and patients Patients Do Not Tell Doctors Their Concerns, Fears

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