Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Getting to know patients helps in the diagnosis

Doctors that patients ask questions about things that affect their lives, not only about their health problems, fewer mistakes in diagnosis.

In medical school, students learn how to diagnose and solve medical problems. But non-medical aspects such as the patient's emotional state, the responsibility of those who provide assistance, business status or how health care can be equally important.

A new study found that medical students who are trained to ask questions about things that affect the patient's life, not only about their health problems, have a better chance to help their patients, according to the Voice of America.

Medical students often try their skills on mannequins to assist patients in human size before you begin working with real patients. Some of these dolls can "bleed" and have a heartbeat. Some even "breathe".

Medical schools also help their students learn listening skills and communication. Students work with actors who complain about certain things to learn to ask questions.

This training helps to reduce errors in diagnosis. The latest study deals with an approach that is more personal. Medical students were told to ask the patient about his daily activities and responsibilities in order to individualize treatment.

"The individualization of care means taking into account aspects of the patient's life. We call this their content," explains Alan Schwartz.

Professor Alan Schwartz of the University of Illinois at Chicago has taught some medical students in the individualization of care. Students listened and looked for hints that could help them in planning treatment.

Professor Schwartz and other researchers studied more than 10,000 medical students. Some of them were trained for individualized care, while others are not.

"The group of medical students who underwent the training, about 25 percent of them are correctly dealt with patients who had a complicated individual factors. Once trained, two-thirds of them were able to handle such patients. This study is important because if you miss that included individual needs, this can lead to medical errors, which is bad as much as a certain amount of bad or wrong medicine, "explains Schwarz.

The study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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