Health Alert: Stick to One Doctor
August 24, 2018
According to a recent medical study, getting treatment from just one primary care doctor instead of several different ones can make – or break – the difference between life and death for patients. Not only can seeing one doctor improve a person’s chances for developing a trusting relationship with his or her physician, but also help limit the chance for medical injuries, illnesses, and deaths that often result from a lack of communication between treating medical professionals.
The Study’s Findings
The study was published in the well known medical journal BMJ Open, and conducted primarily by researchers at the University of Exeter Medical School (though they collaborated with researchers at St. Leonard’s Practice). According to the findings, seeing one primary care physician over time lowers individual’s death rates.
The researchers believe that the results are largely due to what is known as “continuity of care.” Continuity of medical care – or treating with the same primary care physician over time – is a positive influence in a patient’s medical care, such as:
- Lower rate of using hospital services;
- Better overall communication between the doctor and patient;
- Increased rates of patient satisfaction, and:
- Improved rate of adherence to medical advice
The study’s researchers note that what often falls off to the wayside in the midst of rampant technological advances in the medical field is the component of human care, or the care that the primary care physician can provide to his or her patient directly.
It is not just by seeing the same primary care physician that a patient’s death rate is lowered, but also seeing by seeking care from the same surgeon and even the same psychiatrist. When compared to patients who receive care from different primary care physicians (and specialists), the researchers found that individuals with repeated contact with the same medical care provider over time have significantly lower rates of death.
Communication Between Doctor and Patient
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), effective communication between the doctor and patient is the “heart and art of medicine.” Since open communication can increase a patient’s likelihood of adhering to medical advice and honestly disclosing medical history, complaints and symptoms, it is a crucial aspect of care.
We all know that disclosing certain information to doctors can be uncomfortable. Nevertheless, the truth is that the more your doctor knows about your health, the better. There are numerous reasons why it is important to give your doctor as much information as you can. For example, the more personal and medical information a doctor has, the more able he or she is to avoid prescribing a medication that could result in an unsafe drug interaction for the patient.
How to Prepare for a Doctor’s Appointment
Before seeing a primary care physician – or any other kind of doctor – it is important to gather some personal and medical information to bring along with you. Refer to the checklist below to make sure that you are ready for your upcoming appointment:
- Bring a list of all medications and dosages (including herbal supplements, vitamins and all other over-the-counter medications);
- Take copies of x-rays, tests, and all other medical results that you may be in possession of;
- Write down any questions you have for the doctor, and list the most important ones first, and:
- Note your medical history. This includes any preexisting conditions, medical complaints, family history, etc.
To read more helpful tips on what you should bring with you to a doctor’s appointment, please visit this article.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that approximately 250,000 Americans die every year as a result of medical mistakes. Other studies, like one from Johns Hopkins, estimate that more than 250,000 people die from preventable mistakes like these annually. If you or a loved one was injured or became ill because of medical negligence, please contact a representative at our firm who may be able to help answer your questions.
Philadelphia Medical Malpractice Lawyers at Galfand Berger, LLP Represent Victims of Medical Negligence
At Galfand Berger, our medical malpractice lawyers in Philadelphia are experienced in representing victims of medical negligence. With offices located in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Lancaster, and Reading, we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. To schedule a consultation, call us at 800-222-8792 or complete our online contact form.