The careful history Dr. Martin took revealed that Betsy was taking an over-the-counter weight loss product that contained ephedrine. (I have changed their names for privacy’s sake.) When she stopped taking the remedy, her symptoms also stopped. Asked why she hadn’t mentioned this information before, she said she’d “never been asked.” Until then, her providers would sooner order tests than take the time to talk with her about the problem.Communication failure (rather than a provider’s lack of technical skill) was at the root of over 70 percent of serious adverse health outcomes in hospitals.
The problem is much worse in India, because:
- doctors are overworked and rushed
- patients are in awe of doctors and don't have the courage to speak up; and
- there are so many different regional languages !
We need to develop technology which will improve the ability of the doctor to communicate information to the patient, without eating into the limited face to face time he has to spend with the patient.
For example, intelligent algorithms which can take an automated history while the patient is at home, can help considerably in overcoming the doctor-patient communication gap.