By Joe Messa
The next part of our discussion of Dr. Marty Makary’s Wall Street Journal article, How to Stop Hospitals From Killing Us, addresses the topic of doctor-patient communication. Often times, patients report feeling disconnected from their health care providers. In many cases, patients will visit their doctor and leave without understanding most of what has happened or what their follow-up care entails. Sometimes it is a lack of asking questions and other times, the physician has failed to explain complex details to their patients clearly.
Still, being directly involved in your health and communicating with your physician is important. Communication helps to reduce medical errors which have a direct impact on patient safety and the care you receive.
In his plan to reduce medical errors, Dr. Makary offers the suggestion of doctor’s having open notes. He describes a situation with a patient who inquired about the notes that he had taken during her office visit. At the end of the visit, she asked what he wrote down. This led to a conversation where Dr. Makary realized his patient did not understand why he was recommending a specific test even though he thought he had told her. Following this experience, he started dictating his notes with the patient listening in at the end of his or her visit. Dr. Makary found that patients were able to ask questions or even correct mistakes that he would have made.
He recommends all physicians try this or some form of this method: allowing patients to review the notes their doctors have taken. Giving patients access to their notes keeps them informed about what is going on with their health. They have the ability to talk with their physician about any issues and in some cases, add their own comments.
Doctor-researchers Jan Walker and Tom Delbanco at Harvard use “open notes” at Harvard and Beth Israel Hospital in Boston. Additionally, Geisinger Medical Center in Pennsylvania lets patients access their doctors’ notes online. Both patients and doctors have given positive feedback about the open communication they have as a result.
The Philadelphia medical malpractice attorneys at Messa & Associates are experienced at handling cases involving medical malpractice cases resulting from medical errors, including failure to diagnose or treat a condition, medication mistakes, incorrect surgeries or other instances of medical malpractice. Our extremely skilled team of medical malpractice attorneys and medical experts are dedicated to ensuring you receive proper compensation for your personal injuries. If you or a loved one has suffered personal injuries as a result of a medical error or any other negligent care received by a medical provider, contact the medical malpractice attorneys of Messa & Associates for a free consultation. Call toll free at 1-877-MessaLaw, or submit a free online inquiry.
Joseph L. Messa, Jr. is the founding partner of Messa & Associates, P.C. He is an AV-rated attorney (highest rating available), listed in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers. Read More