Even in this day and age, where the medical profession seems to be vilified almost daily by the media, most patients still trust and respect their personal doctor. They see them as being professionals with medical expertise , which they can tap when they are ill and want to get better . They are usually quite passive and are happy to do whatever the doctor advises. This means in effect that it is the doctor who sets the agenda for the consultation .
This works well, especially for most bread and butter problems, where both doctor and patient are on the same page , and have the same expectations . The problem , of course , is that doctors are not mind readers , and if there is a difference between what you expect from the doctor and what the doctor is willing to provide , both doctor and patient are likely to be extremely unhappy with the consultation.
However, unless you express your displeasure , there is no way that the doctor will know that he has not done a good job . Part of the problem is that patients do not provide feedback and when they are unhappy with the doctor’s treatment plan, they usually keep quiet and don’t tell him this. They nod their head, and the doctor is pleased that they are going to follow his advise when they walk out of his clinic. However, they have no intention of doing so, and this can be frustrating , not just for the patient ( who feels the doctor does not understand him ) but for doctors as well.
Noncompliance is a big issue , and doctors feel that if the patient was not going to follow their advise, then why did he waste their listening silently to him and not speaking up ? If the patient has concerns, the doctor can explain his perspective and clear the patient’s doubts. However, he can do this only if the patient speaks up. This can allow him to modify his treatment plan so it’s easier for the patient to follow.
However, most patients are scared to talk back to their doctor. They are scared that the doctor may take offense, which is why they bottle up their fears and worries. This is a shame, because it represents a waste of both the patient’s time and the doctor’s time as well.
Patients need to learn how to manage their doctor. Some doctors are extremely well organized and efficient , and sometimes the doctor-patient chemistry is so good that there are no issues as well. However, we don't all live in a perfect world , and sometimes we need to do step up and do what is needed to help the doctor to help us. Patients cannot afford to leave everything up to the doctor. It’s best to assume positive intent, and the more the patient applies his mind and uses his own skill set in order to improve the consultation , the happier both doctor and patient will be . Remember that happy patients make for happy doctors !
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