Friday, March 09, 2007

Stump the doc

…Wait for it, wait for it…the Feds want you to ask the doctor more questions.

…Health and Human Services’ Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has teamed with the Advertising Council to put out ads encouraging adults to ask more questions at the doctor’s office.

…Medical mistakes in hospitals account for as many as 120 deaths per day. HA has noticed many times that the patient (namely her) has no idea what they are running into the veins. Pretty much have to take it on faith.

…You can ask what you are getting (if you are with it enough), but they look at you like you have two heads.

…120 deaths a day is more than car wrecks, breast cancer, or AIDS. That is a lot of oopsies.

…The campaign is tagged, “Questions Are the Answer: Get More Involved with Your Health Care.”

…You can get some tips on what to ask from

…There is a Question Builder on there that allows you to make up a list of good questions.

…Not to be a crab or exhibit her well-known negative attitude, but HA can think of some reasons people don’t ask questions, or as many as they could or should.

…The doc is on the way out the door from the first minute of the encounter. Each visit is probably slotted for less than 15 minutes.

…There is a sign posted saying: “You can only ask one question.” (Seriously—this was at her mother’s doctor’s office.)

…Doc’s answer is a cloud of jargon. Unless you have a tape recorder and a medical dictionary at home, you might not get the whole drift.

…They also dislike being pinned down to prognoses—this is as much art as science, after all.

…Many doctors have preferred therapies. I think they estimate that a doctor has a preferred list of a couple of dozen drugs he or she uses…Asking about the latest whizzbang on TV may not meet with hosannas.

….Therapies also vary by region of the country.

…The patient may not want to ask if they think the answer will be bad.

…Health literacy authorities wish doctors would be more leading…asking patients, ”What are you taking away from what we have discussed today?”

…HA guesses this question thing goes both ways.


Andrew said...

could you post a picture of that sign at the doctor's office somehow? IF you could tell it was a physician's office in the picture somehow it would be even better. thanks.

Star said...

It was my mother's doctor's partner--I don't have a camera phone and don't know if I could do that, but it said: "Due to new Medicare reimbursement policies, I can only answer one question per visit." I took it as a passagg way of taking Medicare policy out on patients--and with new cuts, this type of thing might get worse. I also had a cardiologist say, "I see you have a list of questions. Could you make another appt to ask those?" Another copay, trouble getting a ride, 2-hour wait, plus a delay in getting answers? No! I fired him.