HealthDay News — Physicians need to promote positive communication between themselves and patients in order to resolve treatment conflicts that arise from medical information searches on the internet, according to an article published in Medical Economics.
Noting that many patients will have obtained health-related information from the Internet before visiting their physician, the article discusses how to deal with conflicts between patients and physicians with respect to unnecessary testing.
The article notes that physicians should listen to patients and acknowledge their concerns, being attentive to underlying emotions. Physicians may resist or resent ‘Dr. Google,’ as patients come with misinformation and preconceived ideas about their diagnosis or treatment. However, the trend toward online research accompanies the growing emphasis on patient engagement; even after doing research online, patients need the expertise of the provider to navigate valid information. When a patient requests an unnecessary test, it’s important to deal with the motivation for their desire for the test; conversely, when a patient objects to a test, it’s important to respect a patient’s autonomy.
“There’s always the possibility that a patient could leave a provider’s office and say, ‘I did not get what I wanted,'” Larry Brown, MD, from the CHI Health Alegent Creighton Clinic in Omaha, Neb., explains in the article. “But there should never be a situation where they weren’t listened to and a clear diagnostic process was put in place.”