In terms of patient care, “patients are more likely to be hospitalized, use medications inappropriately, receive fewer recommended vaccines, and make worse health-related decisions,” according to a recently published report in the Annals of Internal Medicine, referring to what happens when patients do not fully understand medical advice given to them by their physicians.
A story that ran in U.S. News & World Report pointed out that people who work in physician services often, by habit, speak in medical terms and abbreviations that are old hat to them, but are seemingly foreign to their patients.
The gist of the article explains that those who work in the physician services sector, need to recognize that “it is important to avoid using medical lingo during doctor-patient discussions; while some patients might seem to get the message, often they do not truly understand what the doctor is trying to tell them.”
Abbreviations commonly used by physicians, and often misunderstood by patients, include CBC, BMP, LFTs, BMI, and NSAID. Misunderstandings leave patients confused. Confusion leads to poor health choices made by patients, and ultimately you’re left with a situation that paints the scene of poor patient care provided by the physician.
“Physicians, nurses, social workers—everyone in the health care field—must make sure that our patients fully understand their health condition and their treatment, as well as the importance of taking their medications exactly as directed,” said Patrice M. Weiss, MD, chair of the Committee on Patient Safety and Quality Improvement. “We simply can’t assume that a patient understands because she nods her head or because we think she seems educated.”