Be prepared for your physician visit

Last year, there was a study done by the Royal Society of Medicine that suggested that patients forget up to 80 percent of what a physician tells them during an office visit:

“While you might not recall everything your doctor tells you, you’re pretty confident you remember most of the information. Right?

Probably not, new research contends. Most patients forget as much as 80 percent of what their doctor tells them as soon as they leave the clinic, says a study in the May issue of the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine .

And nearly half the information they say they do remember, they remember incorrectly, says the Utrecht University study. With the trend towards shorter hospital stays and more outpatient care, it’s essential that patients remember this information so they fully understand their treatment options. “

Compounding this study with today’s problem with physician access makes it imperative to be prepared before visiting a physician. I have so many patients who come in not even knowing their medications nor why they take them. Doing a little research beforehand and knowing the right questions to ask would make your visit that much more useful.

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  • matynne

    Hi,
    We at Ymc believe that a written document is much more powerful way to remind our patients about the entire follow-up and treatment protocols we are following. Dont trust anything to memory is the rule we follow. I am Dr. Mateen from Mesothelioma Cancer Guide

  • http://www.bryantsstatisticalconsulting.com TexBryant

    There are several ways to overcome the “forgetfulness of patients.” One approach is to remind any patient coming into a physicians office to bring a complete list of all medications being presently taken, whether prescriptive or over the counter. The MA can then take the list when the patient visits. I do believe that most primary care practices do this; mine certainly does for my physicals.

    Another idea is to hand the patient a small pad of paper–large 3M post-it notes, for instance–and have him/her take notes of anything he/she thinks necessary, including instructions. Near the end of the visit, the physician can then query the patient about his/her understanding, using a Platonic method approach. It is amazing how much a patient will retain with just such a simple tool when the patient knows there will be a brief give and take at the end of the visit.