Monday, April 2, 2012

While reading How Doctors Think, two points stood out to me. The first is the importance of doctor engagement. Anne Dodge’s case in the introduction provides a particularly strong example in this regard. If anybody has ever seen multiple doctors for the same or related problem, you know how exhausting it can be to explain your condition to different people only to get the same response. It’s repetitive and frustrating; I can’t even imagine dealing with the situation for 15 years. It was shocking to me that, as it was described at least, what deviated her experience from her previous appointments was Dr. Falchuk’s open ended questions and willingness to listen. His approach to medicine should be the norm rather than the exception. This approach could make a significant difference in all realms of medical care. I can only imagine the difference it could make in psychiatry where a doctor is not merely asking questions that satisfy the conditions of depression, for example, but is asking to get a better picture of that patient’s lifestyle. As a result, that doctor will be able to make better recommendations for lifestyle approaches rather than just providing a prescription.

The second point that stood out to me is the importance for the patient to learn more about his or her (or of a loved one’s) condition. The example of Rachel Stein and her adopted daughter was a great illustration of this point. However, it’s still somewhat frustrating. While I think everybody should take a proactive approach towards improving his or her health, I doubt the practicalities of being able to evaluate his or her condition. Primarily, it takes time and effort, which many people really aren’t willing to invest when they have a specialist telling them everything they think they should know. Secondly, it can often be difficult to locate useful reading materials. The internet has certainly been helpful in making information about medicine and health more accessible, but it can also provide more confusion than guidance. I’m sure you’re familiar with the classic case: you google a symptom, or a couple of symptoms, and next thing you know you’re convinced you have a life-threatening condition. Regardless, the example of Rachel Stein emphasizes the idea that it can be good to question doctors and to not readily accept everything they say as being absolute.

On another note, I was listening to Pandora the other day when I had an advertisement to take a test for ADHD come up (See the picture below). I didn’t click on it, but I can imagine the questions were mostly universally applicable questions: difficulty concentrating on tasks, etc. I'm sure you're all familiar with similiar advertisements by now, just thought I'd share.

No comments:

Post a Comment