What if you come away from an important discussion with your doctor without a clear understanding of why a specific diagnosis was made or why a certain treatment plan was recommended?
What if you forget the details of your doctor’s recommendations? “What other treatment options did she discuss? How many times a day do I take that medication? What potential side effects should I watch for? What further tests did he recommend?”
Could an incomplete understanding and/ or forgetfulness cause increased worry, interfere with effective collaboration with your doctor, and lead to a worse outcome?
Throughout my career, I’ve worked with many patients to help them deal psychologically with their acute and chronic physical conditions. A big part of that work involves looking at how patients and doctors interact with one another.
Patients are frequently upset by having to deal with distressing symptoms and functional impairments. And some conditions affect memory, concentration, and ability to comprehend. The emotional distress and / or cognitive impairment often interferes with focusing, remembering, and clearly understanding important details of discussions with their doctors.
Think of a doctor telling a patient about her newly-diagnosed cancer, then going on to list potential benefits and risks of various treatment options. Do you think the patient is paying full attention to the discussion, or is she thinking about how this condition may shorten her life and affect her spouse and children? Think of the parent dealing with his child’s chronic disability. Or the brain injured person contending with forgetfulness.
Many doctors give their patients a written summary of the visit with treatment recommendations. While helpful, a summary does not include the important details of how the patient and doctor together arrived at the current diagnosis and treatment plan. What other diagnoses were considered? What treatment options did the doctor recommend? What reactions did the patient have to each? And why was the specific treatment chosen over the other options?
So, what if you could easily make audio recordings of important discussions and have the recordings automatically transcribed and shared with selected family, friends, and treaters? Would having a recording and transcription stored on your mobile phone reduce confusion, anxiety, and need for additional doctor visits?
In response to involvement in the healthcare treatment of his family members with serious illness, a highly-qualified tech expert developed Medcorder, a free and easy-to-use mobile phone app that patients can use to audio record, transcribe, and share their doctor visits. Check out the info about this app to see if you think that making audio recordings of doctor visits could lead to improvements in understanding, doctor-patient collaboration, and outcomes.
You can learn about Medcorder here: www.medcorder.com, and you can view/ listen to my interview with the app creator here:
YouTube : https://youtu.be/kf4V-LOB4Ww
(PLEASE NOTE that I have no financial interest in Medcorder.)
Dan Gardner, MD
Please share this with family, friends, and colleagues who might be interested.
Also, please comment on this podcast about how you ensure effective doctor-patient communication.
Dr. Dan Gardner’s YouTube and Podcast channels do NOT offer medical advice. You should not rely on this information as a substitute for, nor does it replace, professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. See full Disclaimer: http://bit.ly/dgdisclaimer
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