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Unprofessional Doctors Or Annoying Patients

Unprofessional Doctors Or Annoying Patients

Which patient traits annoy doctors the most, and what you can do to avoid being a troublesome patient…

Many patients complain about their doctors, and its no secret that many doctors complain to their colleges about troublesome patients.

So who is really to blame? is the lack of enthusiasm or knowledge on the doctors part? Or is it the way the patient communicates or responds with the doctor?

In this article we look at what doctors find most annoying about their patients, and how you can be better prepared for an appointment to reduce your chances of encounter a seemingly unresponsive doctor.

In in such situation, Erin Krebs, MD, assistant professor at the Indiana University School of Medicine and co-author of ‘ The Difficult Doctor’, remembers a patient who spent the first eight minute of his appointment, tell her everything that had been wrong with his past four primary care doctors – including one she knew personally and considers a “lovely person.”

“We know that doctors are not perfect,” said Dr. Krebs, “But it’s not a good start to spend a lot of time complaining about the past.”

Troublesome patients are no strangers to doctors, physicians say they have a “difficult” encounter with one in every six patients. But a survey, published Monday in the Archives of Internal Medicine, also shows that some docs, particularly those who are stressed or burned out, can find patients more irritating than others.

Perry An, MD, of Newton-Wellesley Hospital in Newton, Mass., and colleagues found that these doctors were less satisfied with their work, more pressed for time, and admittedly more likely to make mistakes.

“It’s not just that there are difficult patients or there are difficult doctors. Maybe there are fits that aren’t so great between the two,” said Dr. Krebs.

The current study involved 422 primary-care doctors throughout the United States. Each participating doctor was then asked how often they experienced eight different type of difficult encounters – from a patient with unrealistic care expectations to one who was disrespectful or verbally abusive.

Doctors fell into three groups based on how often they reported such difficulties, with 27% having a high number of difficult encounters, 63% a medium number, and 10% a low number.

36.7% of doctors said they encountered “patients who insist on being prescribed an unnecessary drug,” frequently. An additional 16.1% said they frequently saw patients dissatisfied with their care, and 13.7% said they frequently saw patients who had unrealistic expectations of their care.

In general, doctors who experienced more troublesome patients tended to be younger, on average, than the other physicians, they were also more likely to be female. This group of doctors were 12 times more likely to say they were burnt out, four times a likely to report high stress, and more than nine times as likely to say they had provided “suboptimal care” in the past year.

Studies show that “difficult” patients tend to have hard-to-pin-down symptoms like like headache, dizziness, and fatigue.

Kurt Kroenke, MD, of the Regenstreif Institute in Indianapolis, who wrote an editorial accompanying Dr. An’s study said that certain doctors just don’t like dealing with these types of patients. In his editorial, in his editorial, Dr. Kroenke notes that:

“Physicians with a distaste for the psychosocial side of patient care” identify 23% of their encounters with patients as difficult, compared to 8% of their “more psychosocially oriented colleagues.”

So how can you avoid being labeled a difficult patient, even if its just by a doctor who’s impatient and stressed out? Experts agree that these five preparation tips, can help your appointment run smoothly and according to plan.

Dr. An said,

“The advice goes for both patient and doctor, including myself, to state up front what are our goals for the time we’re spending together, also our expectations, and also to have an understanding of the time limitations we have going forward…

“If time runs out before you can address all of your issues, he adds, you can make another appointment.”

5 things you can do to help your doctors appointment run smoothly:

Unprofessional Doctors Or Impatient Patients

1. Make a list

Decided what is most the important thing to discuss with your doctor, advises Dr. Krebs. If your list is long, pick two or three top priorities.

2. Bring your medication with you

Make a list of all medications you are taking, including supplements and over-the-counter medicines. Dr. Krebs’ admits her biggest pet peeves is a patient who, when asked what medicines she’s taking, says, “Well, that’s your job to know.”

3. Bring up your top concerns early

“It’s better to bring it up earlier than right at the end of the encounter, as the doctor is getting up to leave the room, because that’s frustrating for both patient and doctor,” says Dr. Kroenke. “Put it on the table as the appetizer, not the dessert.”

4. Tell your doctor the truth

If you haven’t been taking your prescribe medication, don’t say that you have. This could lead to polypharmacy, being prescription a dangerous concoction of drugs

5. Ask your doctor about, but don’t demand, a certain drug

You should “take Internet research and advertising with a grain of salt,” says Dr. Krebs. “Understand that you might not have the whole story and be open to the possibility that a particular treatment or medication might not be the right one for you.”

Changing your doctor

If being prepared still doesn’t solve the matter, you can always change your doctor. Perhaps you feel that they are difficult to understand or won’t answer your questions, don’t worry. From a doctors point of view Dr. Krebs explained:

“We’re all human beings, and we all have our personal strengths and weaknesses, our pet peeves that we bring with us.”

“This may be a fine doctor, but perhaps again the visits are just too short and the doctor is just trying to be efficient and get to the next patient on time,” Dr. Krebs added.

“If you get a sense that your doctor is being impatient with you, you can always ask about it:

“How could I explain myself better? What information do you need?’ Those kinds of clarifying questions might help,”

In the case of her complaining patient, Dr. Krebs says she was able to turn things around by telling him that it must have been tough to see a string of doctors he didn’t like, but that the two of them should have a fresh start. She then asked him to summarize two or three of his most important concerns. “That seemed to change the subject and help a little bit.”

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