Monday, November 17, 2008

Patients Heard: Patients Hearing

The New York Times is again innovating in the area of patient information. I found a page on the NYT today that lets patients hear the stories of patients with Parkinson's Disease. I know that I would feel at least more in control if I listened to some of these stories before seeing a physician or talking to family about a new diagnosis. It gives people a couple of differing experiences with an illness to help them identify some of the symptoms related to a recent diagnosis. Basically, it's important to limit the number of surprises that a diagnosis can throw at you. This is a positive development for both patients and physicians!

I think that one of the first treatments a patient should receive is education. Knowing what's to come is empowering for people. Understanding the reasons for pain, physiologic changes and functional limitations opens the black box of medicine for many patients, and I hope that providing that information to patients improves their perceptions of their illness. I'm going to keep prescribing education until someone tells me differently about the effectiveness of information in disease modification.

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