A new report commissioned by the U.S. government shows that most Americans will encounter at least one incorrect diagnosis in their lifetime - sometimes with severe consequences for both their physical and mental health.
The panel reviewing the report noted that diagnosis has always been "a collaborative and inherently inexact process."
This particular report really resonates with me because it’s something my own practice deals with regularly. We believe in involving the patient and their family when it comes to decision making and on their general thoughts about their diagnosis - I feel that taking the approach of ‘here are your options,’ versus ‘here’s what I’m going to do’ results in better collaboration between the clinician and patient, because it’s much more inclusive.
This report brings to light the fact that when decisions being made affect your health, the process leading up to it should be a team effort - not just a doctor sitting across a desk declaring that their decision is final. Patients need to understand that it is very important for them to take ownership of their health and if they decide not to do something, that’s also on them.
Clinicians are now moving away from being the overarching voice to the guiding one. Personally, this helps alleviate some of my stress as well - it’s not easy to be the only one involved in making such crucial decisions for a patient. I can see the process changing slowly - before, my patients often used to be indecisive and unsure when it came to making the final call. Now, I feel that that my patients of all ages are a part of the team as well, and I look forward to more collaborative processes moving forward. Remember: it’s your health, and that means it’s your responsibility, too.