A recently published study in Health Affairs demonstrated that many patients still have significant reservations about asking their doctors questions regarding their health care.
A recently published study in Health Affairs demonstrated that many patients still have significant reservations about asking their doctors questions regarding their health care (). Many of the patients in the study stated that they feared upsetting their physicians and were scared that doing so would negatively impact their care. Moreover, many patients also apparently felt as though their physicians did not listen to or respect what they had to say. These findings are especially poignant in light of the fact that many of the patients surveyed in his study had a very high education level and an annual income greater than or equal to $100,000 per year.
In my opinion, these findings are some of the most disturbing that have been reported in recent memory. A clear two-way dialogue between patient and physician is not only important, but essential to the delivery of high quality care. It is why I always strive to ask my patients if they understand my recommendations and the rationale for the treatment which I am suggesting at the end of each visit. I therefore encourage any patient who is reading this blog post to ask their physicians any questions which come to mind during a discussion about their care. While respecting both a physician’s and a patient's time is important and reasonable, such questions are also vital. A good physician should always ask all of the questions that s/he needs to have answered in order to make appropriate management decisions; patients are no different.