Lecture 9 – Doctor-Patient Communication and Compassion
Medicines – are now very good at curing people, have techniques to help people to get better. However, this
medical breakthrough is paid more attention to. Whereas, the caring part of medicine is being ignored more and
more by medical schools; it is not considered important as to a new medial techniques.
-Because we are so focused on “curing” part of medicine, we forget about “caring”; by failing to care, injury and
harm can be caused.
Slide 1 – Doctor – Patient Relationship
We have images of Doctor as being hired and as a result two things happen: gets annoyed of communication and
the placebo effect - that is, you think they are a miracle worker to help whatever they do to work.
We need to ask questions such as:
- Do patients feel free to ask questions? Patients sometimes don’t ask the questions because they are afraid
to offend the Doctor; people who are sometimes in horrible pain but they don’t like to admit it to their
Doc because they think the Doc will perceive them(patient) as “they are not being a good patient”.
Example: There were 800 mothers who were interviewed and surveyed after coming out from the
Doctor’s visit for their children’s health, 19% of mothers claimed that they have not been told what was
wrong with their child (they were afraid to ask questions “what is wrong with my kid”),
- Do patients tell the MD what is really bothering them? 26% of mothers said “mothers have not told the
Doctors what their concern were”; not so good – you have to get the Doctor to incur the asking questions
and make sure you the Doctors let people express them selves.
- Do MDs talk in a language that others can understand? Are MDs aware of how their verbal and non-verbal
communications impacts patients? Doctors are often not sensitive to the understanding of patient’s
knowledge of medical words and language; they use language (jargons) that are hard for patients to
understand. Thus, anxious patients look at their Doctor’s facial expression (non verbal communication)
and since they can’t make up the words used by Doctors and the patients can miss what the Doctors are
actually saying and misunderstand. Thus, Doctors need to be more sensitive to the verbal and non-verbal
- 40% of patients actually bill out and take medications as prescribed by the Doctors but 60% do not
because they believe if the medicine was important, the Doctors would write it clearly and would take
more time to write it out.
- Looking at these situations, health psychologists wonder and figure out how they can get the health care
community to do a better job in communicating and encouraging communication between Doctor and
Slide 2 and 3 – What Doctors Wish They Could Tell You:
Reader’s Digest Survey – Claudia Cornwall (2004)
% of Canadian GP’s indicating “wish they could say”
-96% “Be honest, if you’re not taking your medication as prescribed, tell me.” 20% of prescription are filled, and of
those that are filled only half are taking it correctly because a lot of people don’t want to take medications since
they feel good about it, or have stigma to it (antidepressants) and therefore they do not tell the Doctor the truth
which can mislead the Doctor and hence, Doctors cannot treat their patients well.
-94% “If you’re going to be late or miss an appointment, let my office staffs know.”
-94% “If you’re taking herbal supplements or over-the-counter drugs, or using alternative therapies, let me know.”
– You should let the Doc know because these herbal therapies can influence you and your bodily functioning to the