A comprehensive guide to improving doctor-patient relations through empowering patients to take an active role in their care.
Managed care has put pressure on doctors to do the most work in the smallest amount of time possible, and even the best-intentioned of physicians can fall prey to corner cutting and misdiagnoses. Doctors Wen and Kosowsky suggest change can come from the ground up by making sure patients and clients are more directive in managing how their interactions progress. “We aim for this to be the opening salvo of a revolution among patients to improve the quality of their own care and to lead the way to true healthcare reform,” they write. Toward this end, the authors provide a raft of anecdotal stories that double as scenarios many patients encounter: being rushed, doctors downplaying concerns, having close-ended "cookbook medicine" questions determine the course of the interaction, and other situations leading to reductive diagnoses. All of the experiences shared lead into actionable steps patients can take toward being "better patients" as well as working to pressure doctors into providing better care—steering the conversation away from close-ended questions, insisting on both explanations for recommended tests and exploring alternatives, and making yourself an active partner in reaching a differential diagnosis. In the appendixes, which include “21 Exercises Toward Better Diagnosis,” the authors further elaborate on these recommendations and others, providing practice sets so readers won't need to wait for their appointment to learn better patient skills.
As health care becomes more complex and political, this book provides clear direction toward better care.