Over the long weekend I caught up on some reading. One article* stands out. It’s on informed consent, and the stunning disconnect between physicians’ and patients’ understanding of a procedure’s value.
The study, published in the Sept 7th Annals of Internal Medicine, used survey methods to evaluate 153 cardiology patients’ understanding of the potential benefit of percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI or angioplasty). The investigators, at Baystate Medical Center in Massachusetts, compared patients’ responses to those of cardiologists who obtained consent and who performed the procedure. As outlined in the article’s introduction, PCI reduces heart attacks in patients with acute coronary syndrome — a more unstable situation than is chronic stable angina, in which case PCI relieves pain and improves quality of life but has no benefit in terms of recurrent myocardial infarction (MI) or survival.
The main result was that, after discussing the procedure with a cardiologist and signing the form, 88 percent of the patients, who almost all had chronic stable angina, believed that PCI would reduce their personal risk for having a heart attack. Only 17 percent of the cardiologists, who completed surveys about these particular patients and the potential benefit of PCI for patients facing similar scenarios, indicated that PCI would reduce the likelihood of MI.
This striking difference in patients’ and doctors’ perceptions is all the more significant because 96 percent of the patients “felt that they knew why they might undergo PCI, and more than half stated that they were actively involved in the decision-making.” Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Medical Lessons*
Joe Boyd hated the Yankees. “Those damn Yankees. Why can’t we beat ‘em?” Then he got the opportunity to save his beloved Washington Senators by making a deal with the devil — giving up his soul in exchange for being transformed into “Shoeless Joe” to propel his team to win the World Series.
Interesting. I think a lot of doctors are making their deal with the devil. They are looking for a small gain in comparison to a long-term of misery. True — Joe Boyd made out in the end, but that will only happen if someone from Hollywood writes our script.
Here’s the problem: At the core of our problems with healthcare is the total lack of cohesive communication. Doctors have no idea what other doctors have done with a patient. Tests get ordered, medications get changed, procedures, hospitalizations, even surgeries are done without communication to other doctors who would benefit from this information. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Musings of a Distractible Mind*
In a surprising report from the Archives of Internal Medicine, we learn that most hospitalized patients (82 percent) could not accurately name the physician responsible for their care and almost half of the patients did not even know their diagnosis or why they were admitted.
If that isn’t enough, when the researchers queried the physicians, 67 percent thought the patients knew their name and 77 percent of doctors thought the patients “understood their diagnoses at least somewhat well.” I would call that a pretty significant communication gap.
Ninety percent of the patients said they received a new medication and didn’t know the side effects. Although 98 percent of physicians thought they discussed their patients’ fears and anxieties with them, only 54 percent of patients thought they did. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at ACP Internist*
The New York Times reported recently on efforts by providers and payers to increase patient medication adherence through the use financial incentives paid to patients. The article cited the use of small financial payments (<$100), awarded via lotteries, to patients that take Warfarin –- an anti-blood clotting medication.
There is certainly nothing wrong with financial incentives. Incentives have been proven successful in changing selected provider (quality and safety improvement) and patient behavior (stop smoking, weight loss and taking health risk surveys). But paying patients to take their medication is different. Actually, the evidence suggests that it is a just plain stupid idea for a whole lot of reasons. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Mind The Gap*
Do you have a technology participation gap in your family? We do. In fact, most families do somewhere.
For us, we have a few older relatives who firmly believe that technology is for “the younger generation.” What’s interesting is that some of these people are not that old — at least not “old” as I define it.
One relative, for example, was a working woman in her younger days. Retired now, she never bought into any technology past the 1970s! Beyond the automobile, refrigerator, TV, radio, dishwasher, washer and drier, she has seen no need for anything else.
Although she has grudgingly begun to use email and the Web, she has deemed herself ”old” and refused to use a cell phone or any other “high-tech device.” Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Dr. Gwenn Is In*