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health     POWER TO THE PATIENT!     Information Therapy     that can Arm you     A new stream that doctors and patients a...
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Information therapy


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This is my first column ( in a series called Power to the Patient) in India's leading health magazine, called Prevention,in the Nov 2011 issue.

Published in: Health & Medicine, Education
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Information therapy

  1. 1. health POWER TO THE PATIENT! Information Therapy that can Arm you A new stream that doctors and patients are exploring, and Prevention will too to enable patient-centric care HAVE you ever been The frustration is similar tongue-tied when talking on my side of the fence too. to your doctor? Have you Just as patients have hor- kicked yourself for forget- ror stories about the poor ting to ask him an impor- bedside manners of today’s Dr ANIRUDDHA MALPANI, Medical tant question, which has doctors, we too exchange National Health Ser- Director, HELP—Health been causing you sleepless tales about patients who Doctor-patient communication is a vice (NHS) in the UK Education Library for nights? Are you upset that talk about everything except in March, 2008 found People, Mumbai two-way street. If you do your homework, he’s not explained your lat- what is medically useful. you can make it a lot easier for your that 73% of patients felt est lab results? Do you feel What we want from patients doctor (he’ll be more efficient and more confident in ask- intimidated by him when is a crisp and detailed story productive) and yourself. ing questions about their he uses medical jargon? Are of their complaints, so we condition after being pre- you worried that he’s order- can make the right diag- scribed information by ing too many expensive nosis and offer the right better medical care). You therapy. The prescrip- their doctor; 52% of pa- tests? Do you feel he might treatment efficiently as do not need to become a tion of the right informa- tients who said that they get upset if you tell him that well as effectively. medical expert—but you tion, to the right person, had received information you want a second opinion After all, doctor-patient do need to become an at the right time to help agreed that it had helped before going in for surgery? communication is a two-way expert patient. It’s your them make a better to improve their care; Yes? Join the club! street—and patients have body and your illness— health decision is opti- 66% agreed that they an equally important role in learn to read the signs mum practice. This is now felt more in control Keep your Focus making sure that their and you’ll be able to take prescription-strength of what was happening Most patients don’t do a very doctor both understands better care of yourself. information, tailored with their condition. good job of talking to their them and explains to them to your needs to enable It’s in its nascent doctors. They often provide the details of the illness Help at Hand patient-centric care stages in India, but we irrelevant information—or and treatment. There are now many in the long run. are hopeful that patients worse, skip information that It’s true that doctors are tools and techniques Already in practice in will ask their doctor to SHUTTERSTOCK/INDIAPICTURE may be crucial for the right busy. But here’s a secret: if which intelligent the West, information prescribe info, making diagnosis. Result: frustra- you do your homework, you patients can use to help therapy shows promising good use of the facility tion with medical care and can make it a lot easier for them communicate results. The Evaluation to become e-patients: blame on doctors for being your doctor (he’ll be more more effectively with of Information Prescrip- expert, empowered, too busy, commercial and efficient and productive)— their doctors. And one tions Final Summary engaged, enlightened impersonal. and yourself (you will get of them is information Report published for the and enabled.00 NOVEMBER 2011 PREVENTION PREVENTION NOVEMBER 2011 00