I remember one of my first times in the delivery room with a patient and her partner. Our team of physicians was explaining some of the pathology that was going on with our patient and I could just see the blank looks on their faces as we tried our best to simplify the information. Then I thought about all the different resources that I knew of online full of images and definitions that my patients would be able to access once we stepped out of the room.
Medical knowledge is an important tool that should be available to our patients. Reliable, evidence-based information can have an impact on the decisions that our patients make and empower them to take control of their health. Just simply knowing what preventative care is needed during various stages of life to the side effects of the drug that someone is taking every day can help patients engage in the decision-making process when they step into our office.
Especially now, in times of social distancing and a global pandemic, appointments are oftentimes missed, patients are lost to follow up, and many important medical conditions are left to progressively worsen. But if patients have access to and are aware of medical knowledge that can guide them when they are unable to visit a physician, it can make a world of difference in their state of health.
So as a fellow physician, I encourage you, regardless of what stage you are in your medical career to take the time and empower your patients by sharing your favorite evidence-based resources that offer free information that patients can use to learn more about their health, prognosis, medications, and just medicine in general. Include your patients in the discussions, regardless of the complexity, because it is our job as physicians to create an environment where everyone’s voices and opinions are heard.