Why Do Doctors Treat Patients As Idiots ?
Good doctors routinely explain the logic of the treatment plan they are recommending to their patients. Patients who are treated with respect , will respect the doctor and look up to him for guidance. Sadly, this is often not the case; many doctors don't bother to educate the patient.
What Patients Expect
Many doctors underestimate their patient's intelligence. The truth is that most patients ( most of the time):
Does a Patient get Confused?
I believe that if the patient cannot understand what the doctor is saying, the fault is the doctor's - he is not doing a good job explaining ! Most patients are quite sophisticated, and are used to handling uncertainty in their daily life. They want a doctor who will discuss their options with them, and provide guidance when asked for, rather than tell them what to do and expect them to blindly follow instructions.
I have found that sharing medical journal articles with patients will often them to come to terms with their disease, and help them to make the right decision for themselves.
Good doctors have a deep understanding of the technical minutiae of their specialty - and while they are capable of doing advanced research and publishing in medical journals, they are also capable of simplifying and explaining all the nitty gritty of their specialty to their patients!
Patients who are treated as idiots tend to behave like idiots !( Of course, sometimes patients do behave like idiots on their own as well , but thankfully this is a small minority !) Patients who are treated with respect will , in turn, respect the doctor and look upto him as a trusted professional , for guidance and wise counsel.
Learning is a Never-Ending Process
I treat many patients who are CEOs . They are very smart and teach me all the time ( if not about medicine , then about how to run my practice, for example !) If they are bright to run a company, I am sure they are smart enough to understand everything about IVF. Clever doctors will acknowledge the patient's expertise and make use of this !
The Proactive Approach
Doctors need to take a proactive approach and understand that teaching their patients and treating them with respect is a great way of differentiating themselves from the competition.
The web is a great tool for patient education - and the nice thing about developing patient educational modules on the web is that once they have been developed, they can be used many times !
I have found this very rewarding, and you can see some of the patient educational modules we have developed at www.ivfindia.com. This is a "proof of concept" - and we hope that other doctors will use this as a model they can emulate !
Good doctors should be capable of explaining the logic of the treatment to their patients. Consequently, patients who are treated with respect will respect the doctor and look up to him for guidance.