The Most Unhealthy Relationship of All: A Guide to Better Doctor-Patient Communication

The Most Unhealthy Relationship of All: A Guide to Better Doctor-Patient Communication

The Most Unhealthy Relationship of All: A Guide to Better Doctor-Patient Communication

The Most Unhealthy Relationship of All: A Guide to Better Doctor-Patient Communication

Synopsis

Close Encounters of the Medical Kind

The entire health care system should be overhauled to encourage communication. In the real world, any doctor or patient can learn to communicate with almost anybody right now. Courses in medical jargon and communication workshops are not mandatory. If you are reading this you have the required skills. All anybody really needs is a better idea of what's actually going on in the doctor patient dynamic.

It seems every patient believes doctors are terrible communicators. Most doctors probably are, but so are most patients. Almost every doctor sees the great problem, but every single one of them sees him/herself as the outstanding exception. There's a reason the working title for this book was Doctors are From Mercury, Patients are From Pluto. As with any relationship, the blame isn't on one person or the other: It's a product of the way they work, or don't work, together.

Take a trip behind the scenes and into the heads of everyone involved in the communication mess that's modern medicine. There are many tips and suggestions offered within. The truth is, once you understand the doctor patient relationship dynamic and why it's this way, all anyone needs is a bit of common sense.

Excerpt

People ask why doctors talk “that way” all the time. What way? Granted, some doctors talk funny, but “that way” can be many different things. Some people are asking about haughty doctors; some about cold ones. There are also technical ones, jargon-dependent ones, rushed ones, secretive ones, and otherwise fantastic ones who can’t get the point across.

Sooner or later a doctor must use technical words, but sometimes avoiding them causes problems. There can be a nuance to a doctor’s voice that seems condescending when taken to mean, “I’m using simple words even you can understand.” From some doctors, however, this tone is actually the medical equivalent of, look ma, no hands! They are saying, “hey, look, no technical jargon, so don’t go saying I tried to confuse you.”

There are many different styles of “that way,” and many different reasons for them. Doctors have to deal with many patients. Whatever way your doctor speaks to you is affected by all of these other patients. Generally, patients do many things incorrectly when it comes to health and medical care. For instance, brushing my teeth a hundred times the week before a dental check up does not make up for years of neglect. Trying to hide things in this manner can be a problem when providing facts needed for a diagnosis. People try to steer the facts toward what they guess is a safe answer: This heartburn was a little more than average, they told me when I regained consciousness, so I agreed to have you check my heartburn just to be safe.

When a patient’s own tension causes problems, h/s may defensively create . . .

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