Is Patient Empowerment a Myth?

Peggy Zuckerman peggyzuckerman at GMAIL.COM
Mon Oct 16 04:04:39 UTC 2017


The very fact that this discussion exists reflects the changing dynamic
that is beginning to occur in the medical world.  Patients rarely would
describe themselves as 'empowered', nor would they say the same about their
banking 'relationship'.  The very use of that term implies that the patient
has received something, has been granted the ability or skills by someone
else--someone in authority and with the right to pass on to the patient
something which is not their own to claim independently.

Patients who seek to become more involved or engaged in their own care may
seek the knowledge which has previously been withheld from them in the
medical world. The unique set of skills which doctors hope to possess is
not available to all, and though generally admired.  However, the barriers
which have thereby separated the medical world from the patient have
created a mistrust between those parties.

A patient is told not to try to learn about his symptoms, not to seek out
Dr. Google, but then is unable to understand the medical jargon or the
ramifications of the suggested treatment. When the doctor values the desire
of the patient to learn about his own body's functioning, what the symptoms
may signal, and how the prescribed treatment might be treated and
monitored, the adult relationship is strengthened.

It is indeed, the engagement of the patient and doctor with one another
which likely strengthens the relationship and the potential for improved
outcomes.  And it is the lack of engagement, and the lack of mutual trust
which leaves the patient vulnerable to the siren calls of the huckster.

Peggy Zuckerman

Peggy Zuckerman
www.peggyRCC.com

On Sun, Oct 15, 2017 at 12:05 PM, K D <kvdavis at cox.net> wrote:

> The ancient Greek myth of Pandora's Box had Hope in the same box (urn)
> with the myriad curses of mankind. The ancient Greeks had a good bit more
> insight into human nature than we do today.
> "Empowerment" is a word with no real meaning. People who participate in
> their own welfare, in any form, are behaving in a fashion consistent with
> "adult" behavior. Those who engage in magical thinking in any form are not
> engaging in adult behavior. I have had patient's bring reams of paper from
> internet searches and patients use the term "direct knowing" (
> http://ascensionglossary.com/index.php/Direct_Knowing) to attempt to
> guide my treatment of their ailment. I fully understand that "we" don't
> know everything. However the eradication of many of the pathogens that once
> were scourges is a testament to the efficacy of the scientific method in
> Western medicine. Those patients who grasp the basic tenets of modern
> western medicine are the ones who are more apt to engage in a therapeutic
> doctor/patient relationship. Those who are apt to use the word "empowered"
> don't generally fall into that camp.
>
>
> On October 15, 2017 at 7:38 AM Mark Graber <Mark.Graber at IMPROVEDIAGNOSIS.
> ORG> wrote:
>
> Many of us are hoping engaged patients will improve diagnosis.  Will it
> happen ? …..
>
>
>
> Medscape members can read this here
> <https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/886159_3>, and the article is also
> attached.
>
>
>
>   Mark
>
>
>
> Mark L Graber, MD FACP
>
> President, SIDM
>
> Senior Fellow, RTI International
>
> Professor Emeritus, Stony Brook University, NY
>
>
>
>
>
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Moderator: David Meyers, Board Member, Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine


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