More evidence that doctors and patients are not communicating

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A new study by Yale and Waterbury Hospital researchers finds that despite the fact that physicians believe that they are completely explaining hospital discharge plans, many patients do not understand very basic information. 90% of patients report that they were never advised about side effects when prescribed new medications; in fact, only 25% report being informed by their doctor that they were prescribed new medications they hadn’t been taking before admission. Physicians and patients differed significantly in assessments of whether the patient wanted to become more involved in their care. In good news, it seems that physicians understand that they are not always being clear and there are no significant differences in communication based on patient age, sex, race or payment source (Medicaid vs. other sources). This study builds on others finding that too many patients do not know their doctor’s name, their diagnosis or understand their medications. This work highlights both the challenges and the importance of patient-centeredness in healthcare.
Ellen Andrews