Patients and Doctors Proven to Have a Drastic Difference of Opinion over Prognosis

A study recently conducted in the United States has proven that there is a distinct lack of proper communication between doctors and patients. To check the concordances between the views held by the physician and the patient, Dr. Gramling R. and associates conducted a study where each doctor and patient were asked separately to judge the patient’s odds to survive in the next two years. This involved mostly a randomized survey questionnaire.

  • The study: The study involved a total of 260 patients with advanced cancer from California and New York, as well as their thirty-eight oncologists. To verify the standard of communication among this test group, all the participants were provided with a completely randomized survey as part of the study. In the survey, each individual was required to judge the patient’s odds to survive in the next two years.
  • Guessing the prognosis: If the values obtained from the patient and doctor drastically differed, the patient was told so, and requested to estimate the oncologist’s prediction for the patient’s prognosis.
  • Great disparities found: Of all the enrolled patients, 160 of them, almost seventy percent of the test size, possessed differing opinions compared with those of their physicians. If you went by demographics, however, 21 out of 22 African American patients possessed diverse opinions compared to their doctors, about ninety five percent. If you considered Caucasians though, only sixty eight percent, or one hundred and forty of them, held differing opinions.

The levels of education possessed by the various patients were highly diverse, and thus, this was not considered as a possible parameter in accounting for the disparity in results. The ultimate conclusion drawn was the lack of proper communication between the patient and their oncologist, as well as a misunderstanding by the patient of the oncologist’s expectations.

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