Encouraging patients to speak up

While we all have patients who are garrulous and discuss things that are completely out of context, the vast majority of patients just do not find it easy to ask all the questions that would help them with their problems. More importantly, a large number of them have no clue about the questions that they should be asking. In the end, all that people land up asking are questions like, “It is not dangerous, right?”, “What food should I eat?”, etc, which do not help either the doctor or the patient.

In a recent issue of JAMA, an article discusses this issue well. It also references a website setup by the Joint Commission that has resources that help patients with the questions that need to be asked. As professionals, we need to encourage patients to educate themselves and to be better informed – this helps us as well as the patients no end and makes for a much better relationship.

Of course, in one sense it turns around the “No turn-back” issue on its head as well, doesn’t it!


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