Doctors and patients know that the decision about which doctor you go to for your treatment is often one of the most crucial choices you need to make. However, this decision if often made on the basis of a mix of hopes , hunches , secondhand advise , old wives tales , and a google search.
While we all like to think that we act in rational ways , the key medical decision about whom to trust our lives with is often based on a gut feel. In order to try to make a more informed decision, we gather information from all kinds of sources – doctor friends , other patients, the chemist , family members , our general practitioner , websites and bulletin boards.
The trouble is that often this information is poor quality because it comes from sources which are not always reliable . One would expect that the doctor could be trusted to be the best source of medial information. After all, he is a medical expert , and won’t he give you advise which is in your best interests.
This is why most patients think that if they can find the right doctor, they will be able to get the best treatment . Unfortunately , this is often no longer true. There are lots of additional influences such as cuts and kickbacks and bribes from pharmaceutical companies which act as negative externalities. These could the doctor’s ability to make the right decisions, so that doctors who continue to act in a fiduciary capacity and put their patients first are few and far between .
So what is the poor patient meant to do ? Some try to keep on second-guessing everything their doctor tells them! They doctor shop and go around looking for a second or third opinion . Others will go online to see what Dr Google says.
I’d like to offer a better alternative. You need to consult an expert , whose advice can be trusted , and someone who will always be available when you need it , and who can be counted upon no to exploit is ?
So how do you find this expert ?
This expert can be you , if you you're willing to put in the effort . I am not suggesting that you join medical school ! All I am saying is that you take an intelligent interest in your treatment; and polish your skills, so you can differentiate between reliable information and hype. An expert patient is someone who understands a lot about himself , and also understands what medical science can offer , and what its limitations are. Thanks to the internet, this has become much easier to do !
This will dramatically improve the quality of care you receive , because a good doctor and an expert patient make an unbeatable combination !