Shirley Williams: What Patients Aren’t Telling Their Doctors

While this piece raises some valid issues (e.g., the patient perspective may not be fully appreciated by doctors), it does not jive with my experience with my medical team who have been open to my questions on treatment options and decisions.

The first part notes that patients do not share their blogging activities with their doctors because:

  1. Patients did not want their writing discounted by clinicians.
  2. Patients felt invisible to health care providers.
  3. Patients did not want to be shamed.
  4. Patients did not want their work minimized.
  5. Patients did not want their feelings and thoughts “clinicalized.”

I am not sure this is necessarily true in most cases. What is true is that doctors are busy, including keeping up with latest medical advances, and their time available to read patient blogs is limited. In my case, my doctors knew I was blogging, but it was only when I put it into a book did they have the time to see what I was really up to. But my key worries and questions were part of our regular discussions; they did not have to read my latest weekly update. I never felt marginalized or dismissed.

So while the author ends up with a plea for medical teams to use the richness of information in patient blogging, I think the reality of time pressures mean that if we have something important to say to our medical team, say it during an appointment, and not expect them to read it later. Quote:

So what does this mean to clinicians, patients and industry leaders? I cannot help but think what missed opportunities. Surely these insights would provide valuable information on the well being of the patient as well as an opportunity to provide extended care. Why have so many health care providers and industry leaders shun the knowledge coming from the patient and the social web? ….

So why is this act so quickly dismissed in the doctor’s office? When a patient talks about what they have read and learned, their efforts are often marginalized. I would imagine taking out a laptop would not be well received in many physicians’ offices.

The hard reality is that health care providers are neither ready nor equipped to manage a more informed, socially savvy patient. The same is true for industry leaders. A total change in mindset and practice will be required in order to move to a more “socially collaborative” health care management style i.e. similar to what we are experiencing in education. Collaboration provides another means of engagement and a method to better assess and understand both the physiological and mental state of the patient.

Shirley Williams: What Patients Aren’t Telling Their Doctors.


2 thoughts on “Shirley Williams: What Patients Aren’t Telling Their Doctors

  1. Absolutely true Andrew. Drs like their patients uninformed and scoff at their research. A doctor once said to me “When did you qualify as a doctor?” only to apologize the next…

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s