Every week Shefali S. Kulkarni selects interesting reading from around the Web.
The New York Times: How Much Can Patients Learn In A 15-Minute Doctor Visit?
Built more like a former professional basketball player than an elementary schoolteacher nearing retirement, the patient dropped a bagful of prescription medications on the table in the examining room and fell back into a chair. He couldn’t remember what most of them were for. Several weeks earlier, he had seen a new doctor who’d prescribed several new drugs and spent much of the visit reciting a list of advice — lose weight, exercise more, stop smoking, eat more fruits and vegetables. Before he even arrived home, he realized he couldn’t recall any of the details of what the doctor had said. “I felt like I was in a Charlie Brown cartoon,” he said, recounting the visit with a laugh. “All I can remember the doctor saying was, ‘Waw, waw-waw, waw-waw’” … Faced with an impossible task, some physicians have thrown up their hands and chosen to focus on only a couple of topics at each visit. Others have resorted to handing out typed lists of the recommendations for patients to read at home. But an increasing number of doctors, under mounting pressures from insurance companies and others to prove that they are delivering quality care, are simply scrambling to cover as many of the wellness recommendations as they can, piling on the dos and don’ts in what a colleague of mine once referred to as “the grand information dump” (Pauline W. Chen, 8/16).