Wednesday, January 26, 2011
What an expert patient can teach an expert doctor !
I am an IVF specialist, and know lots about IVF. I read all the medical journals and keep myself updated, so I can provide high quality medical care to my patients - after all, my professional knowledgebase is my major asset and I spend a lot of time on polishing my skills and keeping current with recent advances. Since IVF is such a specialised field, it's much easier for me to do so, as compared to a general physician, for example, who has a much broader area to cover.
However, no matter how good my intentions, the fact still remains that there will be areas in IVF in which I have blind spots. The good news is that my patients are getting smarter and are happy to help me fill in these blind spots. I have always respected my patients and I learn a lot from them all the time.
Medicine is a rapidly advancing field and doctors need to learn all the time. Our best source of information and knowledge is our patients - and rather than getting angry and upset when patients bring huge sheaves of internet printouts, we need to treat our patients are intelligent expert research assistants, who can help up to provide them with the best possible medical care by helping to keep us on our toes ! These expert patients can act as our eyes and ears - and explore areas we may not be aware of.
Not all these expeditions will be worthwhile or productive - but you never know what the next expert patient can help you to unearth !