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Communication challenges when it comes to pain treatment

On Behalf of | Mar 14, 2017 | Health Law |

Good doctor-patient communication is important in all manner of situations. This includes in the treatment of pain. Communication break-downs during the course of such treatment could result in situations that create significant problems for both doctors and patients. For doctors, it could lead to facing allegations that they didn’t act properly in relation to patient care.

Now, there are some things that can pose challenges when it comes to doctor-patient communication in relation to pain treatment. One is when the patient and the doctor are focused on different goals. A recent study indicates that this is pretty common in the context of pain treatment.

The study looked at 49 physicians and 87 pain patients. The doctors and patients were from a pair of clinics in California. After a patient visited a physician, the doctor and the patient were each given a questionnaire asking about things like their pain management goals.

The study found that, in a majority of visits, doctors and patients didn’t match in their main goals.

According to the study, patients were particularly likely to cite reducing the intensity of their pain or identifying pain cause as their primary goal. Meanwhile, doctors were particularly likely to identify improving patient function or cutting down medication side effects as their main aim.

When things come up that can make having good doctor-communication difficult when it comes to pain treatment, such as goal differences, it can be important for a doctor to take efforts to overcome these difficulties to help ensure their discussions with patients stay productive and helpful.

Patient treatment is one of the many contexts in which what a Wisconsin doctor says can matter greatly. Another is when a doctor is under scrutiny from the state in connection to allegations of patient care shortcomings, such as allegations coming out of a break-down in doctor-patient communication. How a doctor responds to such scrutiny could have major implications on many things, including their license status. So when facing such scrutiny, a Wisconsin doctor may want an experienced health law attorney’s guidance on how to proceed.

Source: UPI, “Doctors, patients often disagree on pain treatment, study says,” Amy Wallace, March 13, 2017

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