Doctors, Patient Education, Treatment

Informed Patients Take Charge

Savvy patients arrive at their doctors’ offices, printouts in hand and ideas about treatment in mind. Whether they want to try a new therapy they’ve read about, question their diagnoses or avoid a drug because of its side effects, these patients have ruffled some feathers in the medical establishment.

In today’s Washington Post, Marc Siegel, an internist and associate professor of medicine, describes his transition from being “a card-carrying member of the group of doctors who resent know-it-all patients” to having “an appreciation for patients who inform themselves.”

According to Siegel, instead of being in charge, “a physician is most effective when he or she isn’t defensive, but acts as an interpreter of information and guide of treatment, leaving the ultimate control to the patient.”

In support of a cooperative relationship between patient and doctor, the article examines the benefits that self-informed patients enjoy. Like higher satisfaction with treatment and, as several studies indicate, better outcomes.

Just what we wanted to hear!

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