Does your Doctor always know best?

Does your Doctor always know best?

When we make a GP appointment, we automatically hand over power and control to the doctor, because we presume they are the experts. The skill of a GP is in helping their patients make the decision that is best for them. That is often tricky. It is suggested that these four basic concepts that if doctors embraced, would increase the odds of getting to a good medical decision. Most of these ideals are not taught, but learned through practical experience.

Knowing the evidence: Doctors should know the evidence—not the translation of the evidence from key opinion leaders or a summary of the findings – the actual evidence. It means less chance that resources are wasted and care plans confused. Medical literature and its media coverage is expanding; attention to fact and detailed appraisal has never been more important.

Embracing uncertainty: Doctors train a long time. This brings knowledge, specific skills, and experience. Yet the GP cannot know the future. The best doctors say they don’t know; when they don’t know and seek to find out.

Seeing the person: The notion of seeing a patient—not the disease. In training, GPs are taught to put diseases in groups—cardiac, pulmonary, orthopaedic, etc. The problem with that view, is it leads to errors and seeing the sum of the whole, rather than the whole.

Control is an illusion: Doctors cannot control life. They could treat two patients with the same problem in the same way. One is cured and one is not. Doctors do their very best with what they know at that moment, but outcomes are mostly out of their control.

The digital age is opening the pages to the doctor’s manual. Everyone is a medical expert or has ‘googled’ their complaint. The doctor-patient relationship is changing.

Do you have a view on this that you’d like to share?



(Background reading source: Medscape Commentary.)

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