Tuesday , May 11 2021

Why are we lying to a doctor?

Posted on 12/3/2013 8:09:34 AMCET


When your doctor asks you how often you practice, do you give a frank answer? What happens when he asks you what you have eaten lately? If you are one of those who camouflage the truth, you are not alone. According to a study, between 60 and 80 per cent of respondents do not tell their doctors information that could be relevant to their health.

In addition to talking about diet and exercise, more than a third of the respondents did not speak when they disagreed with a recommendation from their doctor, and another joint scenario does not recognize that they do not understand the instructions given by their doctor.

When the respondents explained why they were not transparent, most of them said they wanted to avoid being condemned and did not want to be given advice or reprimand for how bad behavior is. More than half were simply too embarrassed to tell the truth.

"Most people want their doctor to take them very seriously," says lead author of the study, Angela Fagerlin, president of the Health Sciences for the University of Utah, School of Health, USA. , and a research scientist at the VA Healthcare Computer System at Salt Lake City, Center for Innovation and Analytical Sciences (IDEAS, for her acronym in English). "They are worried that it is lost as someone who does not make good decisions," he adds.

Scientists at the University of Utah and Middlesex Community College conducted an investigative study in collaboration with colleagues from universities in Michigan and Iowa, USA. The results are published this version in the digital edition of "JAMA Network Open".

The information about the doctor-patient relationship comes from a national online survey of two populations: one picked up responses from 2,011 participants with an average of 36 years, and the second of 2,499 participants who were on average 61 years old.

Respondents were presented with seven common scenarios in which a patient may be inclined to hide the health behavior of his doctors and to ask them to choose what has happened to them. Then, they were asked to remember why they made that choice. The research was developed with the support of doctors, psychologists, researchers and patients and was refined through pilot tests with the general public.

Teach your doctors so that their patients feel more compromised

In both surveys, women, the youngest, and those who have declared themselves ill-health are more likely to report that they have not disclosed the appropriate medical information to their doctor. "I'm surprised that so many people decide to keep information and recognize it," says study author Andrea Gurmankin Levi, associate professor of social sciences at Middlesex College in Middletown, Connecticut.

He adds: "We must also consider the interesting limit that research participants can retain information about what they are holding, which means that our study underestimates the prevalence of this phenomenon." The problem with the dishonesty of the patient is that doctors can not offer correct medical advice when they do not have all the data. "If patients hide information about what they eat or if they take their medication, it can have important implications for their health, especially if they have a chronic illness," says Levi.

Understanding the problem at a greater depth could indicate ways to resolve it. Levy and Fagelin hope to repeat the study and talk to patients immediately after clinical appointments, while experience is still fresh in the mind. Face-to-face interviews can help identify other factors that influence the interaction between the physician and the patient. For example, are patients more open to doctors they know for years?

It is possible that patients are not the only culprits, says Fagelin. "The way communication providers in certain situations can cause doubts in patients," he says. This raises the question: is there a way to train doctors to help their patients feel more comfortable? After all, a healthy conversation is a two-way street.

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