Friday, September 17, 2010

the Whole Patient

Oh so briefly, on Science Friday today a scientist from The University of Chicago School of Medicine discussed research they were conducting with medical students and residents (doctors not yet on their own).

The outcome of interest is whether or not physicians will ask patients about life events during their clinical exams AND incorporate the answers into the plan of care. For example, if a patient indicates that things have been hard lately because of X, does the doctor say, 'sorry to hear that', or 'tell me more.'

The intervention was adding a class to the med student curriculum for one group while another group just had the stand classes. The experimental group did spend more time with patients and ask more about their LIFE.

I was interested in the idea of changing behavior by educating or teaching a skill to those not yet in practice vs trying to teach doctor's who are already treating patients. The scientist thought that they would have better success teaching the students and I think he is right.

It is the same premise that I am engaging when I say we need to teach CHILDREN very early about nutrition and calories, etc. I think that the parents will be somewhat affected by the children, but not enough to solve the problem. I am okay with doing my work now and waiting a generation to see the full positive outcomes.

Here is a link to SciFri. It was an interesting show. Especially since the second part included a guest from Union College in Schenectady NY. I was born in that city and my brilliant, beautiful, athletic niece is a Union student :). (oh, one of my nieces, as I have dozens!)

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