In ancient India, doctors were paid only if their patients were in good health. If someone fell ill, the doctor’s payments were stopped until he treated the illness successfully. This was a very useful model, which should be more widely practised!
Some doctors feel threatened by a patient’s questions. This is not the right perspective at all. Remember: both doctor and patient have a similar goal – to make the patient better – and questions should be encouraged and answered, rather than leaving doubts to fester – a situation that can create unnecessary problems in the future.
Help you to improve the quality of your medical practice. The well-informed patient may help make you aware of advances occurring in other parts of the world that you – as a busy doctor – might otherwise overlook.
Patient education can actually reduce the risk of inadvertent complications. After all, doctors are human and may make errors . The well-informed patient can sometimes point out possible problems with a treatment plan that the doctor may have overlooked (for example, patients with G6PD deficiency)
Educating patients will help prevent health fraud and quackery. If doctors teach their patients about what can be done to help them, as well as the limits of what we can offer them, they are unlikely to be cheated by quacks.
Educational handouts offer proof that the doctor has informed the patient of possible complications and risks . Patient education is an integral part of “risk management” in medical practice today, and will reduce the risk of doctors being sued if complications do occur.
Patient education – key component of informed consent
Don’t tell the patient what to do
Present the information and the treatment options – and allow them to make up their own mind !
Empower patients with information – they will respect you for this !
For example, you can put up a FAQ ( frequently asked questions) section, which answers the commonest queries patients usually ask you. You can “refer” patients to your website at the end of the consultation, so they can educate themselves ! Patients appreciate this – and word of mouth will help you get more patients !
This is why senior doctors value their reputation so much – it is built on the foundation of a lifetime of hard work – and even though it is intangible, it represents the fact that patients have trust in them.
The press enjoys doctor-bashing. This makes a bad situation worse, and the entire profession suffers because of a few bad doctors
Many doctors also feel that patients waste their valuable time by asking stupid and irrelevant questions; because they are too disorganized; and don’t bother to educate themselves or do their homework.
What do you feel is wrong with you ? You don’t need to diagnose your own problem - just to let your doctor know what you feel is responsible for your problem. After all, you are the expert on your own body !
What are you worried may happen to you as a result of your illness. Are you worried this will affect your ability to play tennis ? work ? affect your future fertility ? The best way to overcome your fears is to discuss these with your doctor.