Shut up, doc!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007 at 9:59 | Posted in health | Leave a comment

According to a study published by Archives of Internal Medicine, surprisingly many doctors tend to talk about themselves rather than focus on their patient during primary care visits. In many cases the self-disclosures have little or no relevance in attending the patient’s problem. The study concludes:

Practicing primary care physicians disclosed information about themselves or their families in 34% of new visits with unannounced, undetected, standardized patients. There was no evidence of positive effect of MD-SDs; some appeared disruptive. Primary care physicians should consider when self-disclosing whether other behaviors such as empathy might accomplish their goals more effectively.

Dr. Susan H. McDaniel, lead author of the study, comments in New York Times:

“I think all of us on the team thought self-disclosure is a potentially positive aspect to building a doctor-patient relationship and that we ourselves were quite good at it,” said Susan H. McDaniel, a psychologist who is associate chairwoman of the department of family medicine at the University of Rochester and lead author of the study.

“We were quite shocked,” Dr. McDaniel added. “We realized that maybe not 100 percent of the time, but most of the time self-disclosure had more to do with us than with the patients.”

So next time I need non urgent medical attention, maybe I should fly to America. That way I could charge the chatty doc for taking care of his/her problem rather than paying myself.

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