Sunday, March 22, 2009

Well-informed patients - boon or bane ?

I was wondering why more hospitals don't have patient education libraries and why more doctors don't prescribe Information Therapy. After all, this is such a simple, inexpensive way of keeping patients happy; reducing medical costs; and improving patient inflow. I think I have finally figured out the reason after talking to the administrator of a leading hospital in India today.

He said, quite candidly, that " well-informed patients can be a pain in the neck " ! And this is when I finally realised that the reality is that most doctors are quite happy keeping their patients as poorly informed as possible, because it's easier to get " compliance" when patients don't ask too many questions. Ignorant patients tend to put doctors on a pedestal - and this is quite a comfortable position to be in, when you are a doctor ! You don't have to " waste time" answering questions from pesky patients - and you can use your time more "productively" to see more patients.

What George Bernard Shaw said over 100 years ago is still true - most professions are a conspiracy against the laity !
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  1. Agree with that Doc! Most of my doctors have candidly told me I know and read too much as a Biotechnologist:) They can't get me to swallow some of their explanations and assurances. I wonder if this will ever change in India.

  2. Don't allow them to bully you ! You are the expert on your own body - and you need to find a doctor who respects you and your intelligence !

  3. Yes, totally agree with you. I have recently been denied care by an RE because the "behavior" I displayed. He thinks it is not a good doctor-patient match. He hated my knowledge and guts. But as an informed and a mature patient, I need to have a careful explanation and not simple hysteria.


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