- Dissatisfied patients are more likely to reject recommended actions, miss appointments, turn to non-medical healers, and sue for malpractice.
- Non-verbal behavior of the health care provider appears to influence patient satisfaction.
- Among elderly ( 65+) there is an average rate of adherence ( following the physician's recommendation/s) of 45%.
Patient education often fails because:
- More than half of the medical instructions given by physicians could not be recalled accurately by patients immediately after they left the consulting room.
- Two-thirds of patients forgot their diagnosis and treatment explanations, and one half forgot instructional statements immediately after an office visit.
- Sixty percent of patients misunderstood what their physician said about taking medications.
- 21% to 51% of patients do not read the written materials with which they are provided, and in North America, over 12 million adults cannot read beyond the fourth grade level.
Not every physician or health care provider is a good communicator. How do you tell the difference? A poor communicator may leave you, as a patient feeling intimidated, confused, or dissatisfied with the level of service.
What you can do to improve communication with your physician:
- Have a list of all medications you are currently taking, including over the counter drugs or supplements.
- Provide your physician with an accurate account of the problem ( when it began, symptoms, medications,etc.), and also discuss your own beliefs about why you have this problem.
- Request that he or she talk directly and slowly. Request that they repeat information you may not have heard or may not have understood.
- Be aware of the fact that your doctor is going to pay the most attention to what you say in the first five minutes or so of your visit. Prioritize your concerns, and don't allow your spouse or others to speak for you.
- If you are discussing important decisions like surgery or specialized treatments, take time to think it over. Request another appointment to go over questions, and if you think needed, request a second opinion.
- Invite your spouse or other family member, or a trusted friend to accompany you on your appointments. They can take notes for you to review later, and help remind you of informatio you may have missed.
- As a competent adult, you have the right to accept or refuse medical procedures. You should never make a decision with a feeling of pressure or coercion.
- If you feel that you absolutely cannot communicate with your physician, that they are rude, or unresponsive to your needs...begin to look for another physician.