What's your relationship with your health care provider? Do
you talk about your health problems openly and honestly, or
do you keep most of your opinions and feelings inside - perhaps
out of fear that your doctor "won't listen" or "won't understand"?
is the key to optimizing treatment, say Swiss researchers
after conducting a controlled clinical trial on rheumatoid
arthritis (RA) sufferers. Findings suggest that feedback sessions
should be held on a monthly basis between patients and their
doctors, due to the changing patterns of RA and the uniqueness
of its effect on each patient. The trial, which included 228
patients and 48 rheumatologists, used a rheumatoid arthritis
disease activity index (RADAI) questionnaire. Patients who
saw the largest advantage of feedback were those with "high
disease activity," with a reduction of more than three points
in their RADAI scores.
While the stats indicate success through patient-to-doctor
updates, they echo a common complaint among health care administrators:
"Tell us what's wrong - on an ongoing basis."
The doctor-patient relationship is one of the keys to making
sure you stay healthy, and if you have an illness or disease
that requires constant assessment, it's an even more important
tool to get you back on the road to health. If you don't feel
comfortable talking to your doctor - or if you don't think
your doctor is comfortable or interested in talking/listening
to you - try to open the communication lines, or find another
doctor. Your health is that important.
Fransen J, Stucki G, Twisk J, et al. Effectiveness
of a measurement feedback system on outcome in rheumatoid
arthritis: a controlled clinical trial. Annals of the Rheumatic
Diseases July 2003: Volume 62, pp.624 - 629.
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