Thursday, March 10, 2011

What is a difficult patient, and how doctors may be responsible

by Kevin Pho, MD:

What, exactly, is a difficult patient?

Doctors can tell many tales of what they term as a difficult encounter. Just as many patients can recall doctors whom they would say are difficult to work with as well.

According to a study from the Journal of General Internal Medicine, here’s a definition:

Patients deemed difficult included those with more than five symptoms, severe symptoms or an underlying mental disorder or were less functional. These patients were less likely to fully trust or be satisfied with their physician, and they were more likely to report a worsening of symptoms two weeks after their visit.

It’s important to note that patients weren’t the only responsibly party to the difficult encounter. Physicians play a role in this as well. Read more>>

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