Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Kevin Pho in USA Today: Doctors ignore Internet at their own peril.

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20 Comments:

Blogger Topher said...

I certainly don't want to stereotype, but about half the doctors I've seen in the last three years have been really bad communicators. It's less about time as it is about just seeming like they can't be bothered to listen to me and my complaints.

One went so far as to speculate I might have a life-altering disease without any lab or film evidence. (A second opinion revealed the first guy was totally off base.)

However, I'm not sure the Internet would help - it could just increase their volume of ineffective communication.

9:42 AM, January 27, 2010  
Blogger Stormbringer said...

I agree with Topher, and want to add that my experiences with medical providers (including processing their notifications as well as being a patient) is that it is an industry. My medication ran out because the provider ignored my repeated requests for a renewal, and I had to go and demand a new one in person. That is just the latest example.

10:41 AM, January 27, 2010  
Blogger DADvocate said...

I decided recently to find a new primary care physician. My current one communicates well enough but once something more obscure than a sinus infection or strep throat faces him, his detective/diagnostic skills seem lacking.

Several times he's blown off questions regarding side effects of medicine with the chance is not clinically significant. If your that one in a hundred or one in a thousand, it is. For a varicose vein, he recommended taking an aspirin a day, which I assumed was to prevent a blood clot. About 5 years later I had to have veneous (sp?) closure surgery and the surgeon told me I should have some sooner and it wouldn't have been as bad as it got.

Doctors need to listen better as well as explain better. Listening is more important in communicating than speaking. Otherwise, how do you know what you're saying even relates to what the other person needs to or wants to hear?

11:54 AM, January 27, 2010  
Blogger dr.alistair said...

http://www.aspergerssyndrome.net/einstein.htm

it has been my experience that many professional people; doctors, accountants, technologists, programmers, exhibit some of the characteristics of asperger`s.

paricularly social awkwardness, obsessive focus, lack of social attachment and odd bodily movements.

this is not to say that all people in these fields are in some way asperger`s. it`s just that many doctors are able to practice with very little social balance and communication skill.

the ex-husband of a friend is a successful anesthetologist locally. but to look at him, you would think he is a homeless person. ill-fitting clothes, unkempt hair, palid complexion, thin to the point of frailty and barely responsive in conversation, yet he earns $150,000 or more and is a necessary part of complex surgeries requiring hours of detailed monitoring of patients vital signs while surgeons do their work.

yet, totally unable to be a husband or parent in any way.

on the other hand there are those who are socially balanced and comfortable and choose to sell life insurance and cemetary plots......

1:50 PM, January 27, 2010  
Blogger JG said...

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4:36 PM, January 27, 2010  
Blogger JG said...

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4:40 PM, January 27, 2010  
Blogger JG said...

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4:49 PM, January 27, 2010  
Blogger Cham said...

Let's say your toilet is broken. You call a plumber, he/she comes to your house, determines the problem, fix the toilet and then give you a bill right then and there...which you pay. If you research the plumbing problem on the Internet your plumber will be more than happy to talk to you at length about your toilet, all the ways your toilet can break and the various solutions. Your plumber will enjoy the discussion. Your plumber makes good money and both he/she and you are immediately satisfied with the transaction.

Now let's say you have a rash. You call your insurance company and they tell you which doctors may treat you. If you are lucky a primary care physician can see you in 2 weeks while your rash gets worse and itches. After which, your PCP refers you to a dermatologist who might be able to see you in a month. The rash doesn't get better while you wait. The dermatologist meets with you, looks at your rash for 5 minutes, doesn't care about anything you have to say, gives you a prescription and then you are told to make way for the next skin-itching patient.

Months later you get a bill from the PCP and the dermatologist. You have no idea what the billed charges are for, and your rash may or may not have healed.

Small wonder people are turning to the Internet for answers. The healthcare industry is wildly broken and there is no fix in sight. The Republicans want to keep it broken and I'm not quite sure about the Democrats plan for improvement.

God bless the Internet.

5:08 PM, January 27, 2010  
Blogger Chuck Pelto said...

TO: Topher, et al.
RE: Good Advice

I certainly don't want to stereotype, but about half the doctors I've seen in the last three years have been really bad communicators. -- Topher....

....echoing the article which asks....

Raise your hand if you've ever left a physician's office without fully understanding what the doctor just told you. According to The New England Journal of Medicine, half of patients admit to not understanding what their doctor told them during an office visit. -- Article

My hand isn't up, as I try to avoid doctors like the plague. The last five visits—up to four years ago—resulted in either 'bad medicine' or a total waste of money.

However, my father-in-law reports that he's noticed that doctors have taken an approach of saying "It's your decision," as it pertains to doing anything about a condition. And THAT without providing ANY useful information to help their 'patients' MAKE a good decision.

He suspects that the doctors have taken to doing this because that way they can avoid malpractice allegations. It as a new 'barrier' besides numerous tests of EVERYTHING even remotely related to a condition.

I tend to agree with him. It makes sense. This article only reinforces this hypothesis.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[A doctor's reputation is based on the important people who have died under his care.]

5:11 PM, January 27, 2010  
Blogger Professor Hale said...

being as old as I am, I don't need a doctor to tell me I have an ear infection. I know what it feels like and I have already jumped to the exact same conclusion and course of treatment a doctor is going to. Antibiotics. But I can't buy them without a doctor's prescription, which means an office visit and a bill to the insurance company.

Blah, blah, misuse of antibiotics, blah, blah. It is the doctors that are misusing, not the patients.

7:48 PM, January 27, 2010  
Blogger DADvocate said...

Cham - I almost always am able to see my doctor within 2 days. We've been able to see the dermatologist we use within a week. Otherwise, I agree with you completely.

Anecdotal evidence - in 1976, I hurt my knee playing tennis, pre-patella bursitis. I went to my PCP and an orthopedic surgeon. Both gave me a shot of cortisone with no benefits. I went to the library and read up on pre-patella bursitis. I quit running and playing basketball for 6 months but road my bike daily (low impact). I haven't had a problem since, 100% healed. If I had relied completely on doctors, who knows what would have happened.

8:00 PM, January 27, 2010  
Blogger Chuck Pelto said...

TO: Professor Hale, et al.
RE: Earache?

Antibiotics. But I can't buy them without a doctor's prescription, which means an office visit and a bill to the insurance company. -- Professor Hale

Want to bypass the doctor's office?

I recommend you look into THIS.

She's an MD gone 'rogue', if you ask the AMA. But I've been using her advice for 22 years now and she's dead on with a LOT of things like earaches, minor ailments and injuries.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[God made the Earth and everything therein for Man.]

P.S. Our problem is that we haven't figured out how to use it all properly.

10:24 PM, January 27, 2010  
Blogger TMink said...

On a side note, many of my psychology patients check out the internet, but they seem more focused on diagnoses than in treatment. I think that is different in medical problems where folks are at least as interested in the treatment as they are the diagnosis.

Helen, do you get the same thing?

Trey

9:54 AM, January 28, 2010  
Blogger dr.alistair said...

diagnosis by consensus. like trying to get political insight by watching crossfire.

interesting that most minor ailments heal themself in 6-8 weeks...without a doctor, just by the bodies ability to heal it`s self.

can`t charge a fee for that though.

2:25 PM, January 28, 2010  
Blogger Chuck Pelto said...

TO: dr.alistair
RE: That's Quite....

interesting that most minor ailments heal themself in 6-8 weeks...without a doctor, just by the bodies ability to heal it`s self. -- dr.alistair

....some time to cope with an earache. Let alone an acute attack of gout. [Been there. Done that.]

However, if I can properly identify the symptoms and have the proper materia medica on hand, I can heal myself in about 15 minutes.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Are Egyptian back doctors cairopractors?]

3:32 PM, January 28, 2010  
Blogger dr.alistair said...

i`m not sure that an earache above a certain magnitude would be considered minor.

my girlfriend had an earache that her doctor treated with water from a syringe. the water got forced into the ear with such pressure that it made the probelm worse.

the doctor apologised later stating that she hadn`t read the syringe instructions properly.....and that she was having problems with her daughter at the time.

nice to know she had an excuse.

4:51 PM, January 28, 2010  
Blogger Larry J said...

My wife had a severe ear ache a couple weeks ago. She's a nurse and knew she needed an antibiotic but tried to let her body heal itself. When she went to the doctor, they said she has significant hearing loss in both ears and may now need hearing aids. She already had a hearing loss in one ear due to a ruptured eardrum over 20 years ago* but now the loss is in both ears.

* I was in the Air Force at the time so she went to a military clinic (Peterson AFB) for treatment. They gave her Sudafed. Gotta love government health care! They were prescribing Sudafed for so many things that we started calling it "Peterson Penecillin."

1:46 PM, January 29, 2010  
Blogger Chuck Pelto said...

TO: Larry J
RE: Peterson AFB, Eh?

Don't get me started about the 'doctors' at Fort Carson.

Remember that Bill Cosby routine, "Oops"?

Regards,

Chuck(le)
P.S. It happened like that to me. But MY doctor, said "Damn!"

4:16 PM, January 29, 2010  
Blogger Chuck Pelto said...

TO: Those Too 'Young' To Remember
RE: Here's....

....Oops!

Enjoy,

Chuck(le)
P.S. I recall trying to sit up, when the surgeon operating on my broken leg say, "Damn!"

I recall the anesthetist reaching for a knob.

That's ALL I can recall.....

5:38 PM, January 29, 2010  
Blogger jimbino said...

Doctors are lying SOBs and Chad is quite right: if doctors were really interested in patient care they would stop hiding treatment and pricing information from the public and they would stop the severe price discrimination that forces private payers to pay some 3 or more times as much as the Doc gets from Medicaid and Medicare for the very same treatment.

All healthcare providers should be FORCED to publish all pricing information by treatment code (CPT) on the internet and to treat ALL comers equally, just as Walmart, Sears and Lowe's do. Even better would be to force all healthcare providers to work for Walmart!

12:52 PM, February 06, 2010  

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