“You’re Already Your Own Doctor”

The always thoughtful Rasu Shrestha, MD, shared this image and tweet on Twitter:

I really appreciate Rasu pointing out how much of our health is influenced outside of the doctor’s office. Also, I love that Rasu is asking for participatory medicine and for patients to demand to be participants in their care. However, I wonder if the quote he shared from Tom Ferguson, MD is a bit too far: “You’re Already Your Own Doctor.” Of course, what’s amazing is that Dr. Ferguson was saying this in 1985. That’s surprising, but I wonder if the statement actually discourages doctors from having patients involved in their care.

I get the idea that many patients have been treated poorly in the past. However, how future patients respond will often determine how doctors will respond to them in the future. It doesn’t take many bad experiences for doctors to not want to have patients involved in their care. So, patients should demand participation in their care, but they should do so with respect.

What’s ironic is that those same patients who want doctors to respect them and respect their input as patients, treat their doctors with disrespect. I understand that many patients get burnt out. However, it’s amazing how care providers turn off when they’re disrespected. If the goal is to create more patient involvement in their care, we have to be careful not to burn bridges for other patients. I think calling the patient a doctor is going to far. Once again, it’s about participation in your care and not the patient becoming the doctor.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference, EXPO.health, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.

1 Comment

  • The notion that the Dr. is an omniscient and omnipotent has long passed. Patients are more informed about treatments and prices today, thanks to Dr. Google, then they were in the past. Patients are also sick and bothered by insurance company second guessing their Drs. and patients having to self-advocate for procedures and medicines. Doctors don’t mind discussion with their patients, the bottom line is that they have the license and they aren’t going to prescribe based on your say so alone. Now if all those well-informed and socially active patients would jump down from their pedestals and actually follow exercise and medicine prescriptions, not self-medicate, make follow-up appointments and chat with their Drs. between visits, we might get healthcare back again. Yippee.

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