Doctor Doctor Give Me the News I Have A Bad Case of Remembering You

A new study by the University of Chicago published in the Archives of Internal Medicine of nearly 3,000 adults admitted to their affiliated hospital reveals that patients are rarely able to identify their doctors by name or to describe their roles in their care. Patients were asked about the roles of the various physicians attending to them and to name the doctors on those teams. 75 percent were unable to name a single doctor assigned to their care. Of the 25 percent who did, 60 percent got it wrong. And get this; patients able to name one of their physicians also were more likely to be unsatisfied with their care. So if you know someone, it‰Ûªs easier to blame by name?!

I went in for an endoscopy recently and my local hospital quizzed me on why I was there and who was my physician. For a moment I had to think of the guy‰Ûªs name. Recently my mother fell and fractured her neck (she‰Ûªs fine and stubborn at 87). And really it was not up to her to monitor the flow of physicians and others into her room. That was my job and I didn‰Ûªt perform it well. And I could not be there all the time.

Dr. Ernest Moy, medical officer at the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, had this to say in the article: ‰ÛÏIn some ways ignorance is bliss. We assume when you walk into a hospital you are going to be taken care of, but maybe we put a little too much faith in hospitals.‰Û

Until you experience the health care system first hand you really have no idea how complicated it is. In this day of consumerism and paying out of pocket, of health care advocates ready to come to your aid, of complicated medical bills and sorting it out, maybe it does make sense to know who is visiting you and why. And that doesn‰Ûªt even begin to speak to what happens after you are discharged. My mother went back to Florida (she fell and was hospitalized in PA) and I tried in vain to hook her orthopedic surgeon in Florida with the orthopedic surgeons at the hospital so that her care could be somewhat coordinated.

So I might suggest for both consumers and hospitals that you put together a standard form that you insist any caregiver coming into the room fill out (well at least the physicians to start). Ask for their name, specialty, date, time and a short reason why they were there. You could even have some items listed that they could check ‰ÛÒ here to give patient update; examination; etc. I would even be so bold as to ask for their cell number.

It‰Ûªs your health and you need to stay on top of it when you are well and when you are sick.