Can You Feel THIS, Doc?

May 23rd, 2011 by Amy Gonsalves Leave a reply »

I thought this was an interesting study: researchers followed 891 patients with diabetes for three years and the study involved 29 doctors.

They rated the doctors on how much the doctor understood their patients’ perspectives and how much that understanding factored into the doctors’ desires to help.

The doctors who were rated the highest in this type of empathy had patients who were 16% more likely to have tighter management of their blood sugar levels and 15% more likely to have better cholesterol levels than the patients of the not-as-understanding doctors.

It makes me wonder how many people think about taking care of themselves better in order to please a doctor they like.  In some ways that makes sense, but in other ways it makes me somewhat sad: isn’t taking better care of yourself and your body a big enough motivation?

I guess sometimes it isn’t.

But it also makes sense sometimes when you think about teens with diabetes: they aren’t in it to please ANYONE else, and they may not have the same perspective on their lives as the adults they know. 

And then I think about how much work it must be for a physician to feel the difficulties of daily life with diabetes on behalf of his patients.  Or how often someone cries or yells in front of her in response to a simple “how are you doing” type of question.

I guess it isn’t necessarily easy for any of us.

Unless we turn off our emotions.  Which really doesn’t seem like a good idea for those of us living with diabetes since diabetes can take up so much of our brains!  And from the doctors’ side of things; who would want to get into healthcare in order to stop feeling?

It’s a very interesting thing to think about: does how you feel about your diabetes doctor determine how you care for yourself?

I’m sure it does in some ways.  I just hope we are each smart enough to ensure that in the doctor/patient relationship, WE as PATIENTS get top billing every time.

We deserve it!!

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