I used to think they didn’t, but they do.
Clinical judgment is the application of individual experience to the variables of a patient’s medical presentation. It’s the hard-worn skill of knowing what to do and how far to go in a particular situation. It’s having the confidence to do nothing. Clinical judgment is learned from seeing lots of sick people. Good clinical judgment is when the gifted capacity of reasoning intersects with experience. Some doctors have better judgment than others.
Aristotle called this phronesis – or practical judgment.
Patients have practical judgment. We often can tell when something’s amiss with our own body. Things feel different or look different. Taking action on these observations is how we exercise judgment as patients.
Parents of children with central venous lines, for example, can often identify the early signs of infection before fever has ever appeared. They know the subtleties of their child’s behavior. The same goes for children with epilepsy. People with diabetes increasingly have the latitude to apply judgment to the management of their disease. This tends to be quite defined, however, with fixed variables and limited options for intervention. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at 33 Charts*
An online friend, colleague, and outspoken patient advocate, Trisha Torrey, has an ongoing e-vote about whether people prefer to be called a “patient,” a “consumer,” a “customer,” or some other noun to describe a person who receives healthcare.
My vote is: PATIENT. Here’s why:
Providing medical care is or should be unlike other commercial transactions. The doctor, or other person who gives medical treatment, has a special professional and moral obligation to help the person who’s receiving his or her treatment. This responsibility — to heal, honestly and to the best of one’s ability — overrides any other commitments, or conflicts, between the two. The term “patient” constantly reminds the doctor of the specialness of the relationship. If a person with illness or medical need became a consumer like any other, the relationship — and the doctor’s obligation — would be lessened.
Some might argue that the term “patient” somehow demeans the healthcare receiver. But I don’t agree: From the practicing physician’s perspective, it’s a privilege to have someone trust you with their health, especially if they’re seriously ill. In this context, the term “patient” can reflect a physician’s respect for the person’s integrity, humanity and needs.
*This blog post was originally published at Medical Lessons*
In my recent post on KevinMD, “Deeply Connect and Engage Your Patients With Empathy,” I write about how empathy is essential to help empower our patients: “It is with empathy that we can engage and empower our patients.”
Doctors and nurses are leaders in health care.
Being a great leader means having a clear vision, mission or goal. It means being committed, and knowing how to listen and communicate, but it involves much more. It’s about having heart, empathy, and an uplifting spirit.
I value and respect a well written post by Thomas Goetz, author of The Decision Tree: Taking Control of Your Health in the New Era of Personalized Medicine recently published on KevinMD, “How can doctors successfully engage their patients?” Goetz writes about “Five things they should seek to give every patient, strategies to tap the most underutilized resource in medicine, their patient,” however I feel the most critical ingredient is missing, empathy.
It is with empathy that we can engage and empower our patients. With empathy and heart we can help our patients feel good, valued and respected. Empathy allows us to engage and empower our patients to take charge of their health and well-being. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Health in 30*
From Kevin Pho’s medical blog, KevinMD, a post archived from 2004, Pho talks about the struggles of communication between doctor and patient during the 15-minute office visit.
Pho sites a New York Times article that explains that more than two decades ago, research shows that patients were interrupted 18 seconds into explaining their problem (on average) and less than 2 percent got to finish their explanations.
Pho sites that he sometimes falls into the “interruption trap,” saying: “I think this is a natural progression to our managed care environment. Physicians are compensated by quantity of patients seen, and are kept to a strict schedule -– in most cases every 15-minutes.” Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Health in 30*
I don’t know what’s going on with American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) lately, but it’s disheartening. Their abdication of responsibility and engagement during the healthcare reform debate was depressing. Then there was a rigged poll designed to elicit a predetermined result. Now I see a bizarre op-ed piece in USA Today entitled “Opposing view on drug addiction: Don’t make us ‘pain police’” and authored by ACEP President Angela Gardener. An excerpt:
The patient-physician relationship is sacrosanct, demanding candor and trust. In the emergency department, trust is built in nanoseconds because patients and doctors do not have prior relationships. Knowing that any pain prescription will be entered into a large, public database might prevent patients from being truthful, or in the worst case, from seeking needed care. … As an emergency physician, I can assure you that the drug abusers who use the emergency room simply to get a prescription drug fix represent a micropopulation of the 120 million patients who seek emergency care every year in the USA. … Put bluntly, if legislators have money to spend, they should spend it where it will do the most good for our patients, and that is not on drug databases.
I really don’t know what to say, other than to wonder whether Dr. Gardner and I practice in the same United States in which abuse of prescription drugs is growing exponentially and in which “drug-seeking” patients are a part of each and every shift worked in the ER, where deaths due to overdoses of prescription medications are on the rise, and where diversion of narcotics is a serious and growing problem. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Movin' Meat*