Patients want collaborative relationships with their doctors but fear retribution for raising too many questions.
How many times have you seen the phrase, "Discuss it with your doctor"? From Internet medical articles to TV ads selling drugs, the phrase continually pops up as if it's the simplest thing the world to do. A team of doctors and researchers who conducted focus groups with patients from the San Francisco Bay area have now published evidence that's all too familiar to people in the rest of the country: discussing medical issues with your doctor is much easier said than done.
Two major concerns mentioned by the patients were fear of losing their doctor's good will by questioning their advice and the lack of time during doctor visits.
One way subjects coped with the lack of time during doctor visits was to do their own research outside of the doctor's office, mainly via the Internet. Some reported that they felt the need to do this covertly. Questioning their doctor during the visit would be rocking the boat.
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The researchers selected their study subjects from the patients of five primary care physicians in Palo Alto, California, an affluent suburb of San Francisco. They looked at subjects 40 years of age or older because older patients are more likely to have been involved in making sensitive medical decisions. Forty-eight patients were selected and attended six focus groups.