There’s a Disconnect Here

This is an excerpt taken from our article in the October issue of Quirk’s. To read the full article, click here

Twenty minutes, tops. That’s the average interaction between doctor & patient in a typical office visit. But what if it’s not typical because the patient has just been diagnosed with a disease? Discussions regarding diagnosis, treatment, possible medication and recommendations may occur, but it’s hard to understand what is resonating with patients who are given so much information in such a short period.

We know gaps in communication occur and effective patient-physician communication is often linked to adherence. In fact, our study on adherence last year found that at the point of diagnosis, patients frequently leave a physician’s office not knowing what condition the doctor diagnosed, not clear on what they should do, and not even knowing if they’ve gotten a prescription. Research has shown that comprehension, retention and action can improve through the use of visual stimuli in physician-patient interaction.[i],[ii],[iii] We’ve also found visual stimuli to be highly effective when uncovering patient and practitioner insights. Using images as catalysts helps engage study participants and can also help them open up around a sensitive topic to further identify what’s driving behavior and emotions around treatment.

For more details, download our Communication Gaps eBook now
 

For the purposes of our Communication Gaps study, we partnered with one of the top 25 pharmaceutical companies to conduct qual-quant research with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients and health care providers to find out how both sides viewed their relationship and what communication gaps exist before diagnosis, at diagnosis and as treatment continues.

The online methodology integrated interactive exercises – including a retrospective diary, projective thought bubbles and a collage-building tool – with standard measures in order to explore this relationship. More specifically, we looked at what doctors believed they were communicating effectively and what information patients were really retaining. We asked about experiences with COPD, the point of diagnosis, experiences with their PCPs, and communication around medication. For more details, access our Communication Gaps eBook immediately or click here to continue reading.


[i] Kessels, 2003
[ii] Annemiek 2013 (Journal of Crohn’s and Colitis)
[iii] Danielle M.McCarthy, ED discharge instructions, “Emergency Medicine International”

 

comm gaps

Bridging the Gap Between Doctor & Patient

Physicians – on average – spend 15-20 minutes with a patient for a typical office visit[1]. While 15-20 minutes may be sufficient for a general health checkup, for people dealing with a chronic condition (or multiple conditions) this time can seem limited.

Now imagine that you, yourself, are sitting in your doctor’s office and you have just been diagnosed with a chronic condition. The doctor was running 5 minutes late, and after some introductions and the information about your diagnosis, you now have 10 minutes left of your appointment. What is your doctor telling you about your condition – which, until 5 minutes ago, you may have never heard about? What do you want to know?

BuzzBack has been hard at work developing a methodology that gives us both the patient and physician perspectives on these issues, highlighting specific areas where there are gaps that may be able to be addressed by other stakeholders (e.g., pharmaceutical companies, health insurance companies, etc.).

For instance, our research found that when talking to COPD patients, while PCPs and Pulmonologists tend to focus a lot on treatment options, symptoms, and the origin of the condition when diagnosing a patient, there is less of a focus on overall health, which patients indicate being the top thing that they wish their HCP had spoken about when they had been diagnosed.

comm gaps word cloud

 

Check back here for more information about our upcoming webinar, where we’ll be presenting our research findings on Patient-Physician Communication Gaps. 


[1] http://www.ajmc.com/journals/issue/2014/2014-vol20-n10/the-duration-of-office-visits-in-the-united-states-1993-to-2010; http://khn.org/news/15-minute-doctor-visits/

Doctor Patient Communication Gaps

A New Spokesperson for COPD?

In case you missed it, the man most notably recognized for his tag line, “Live Long and Prosper” came out as being diagnosed with COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) just a week and a half ago. Leonard Nimoy who played Spock in the original Star Trek series is one of only a few celebrities to announce they’ve fallen ill with COPD. With his upfront approach and recent interview, the beloved actor is fast becoming the newest spokesperson to shed light on the 3rd leading cause of death in the U.S. (and the 5th leading cause of death in the U.K.).

A few days later, a U.K. study was released that found doctors are missing opportunities to diagnose COPD earlier. The retrospective study of almost 39,000 patients showed that “5 years before diagnosis, 85% of patients had visited their GP or a secondary care clinic at least once with lower respiratory symptoms.”

The World Health Organization predicts “that COPD will become the third leading cause of death worldwide by 2030.” With COPD on the rise, it’s quite obvious that the world needs to not only shine a light on this under-diagnosed disease for patients but for physicians as well. The timing of Leonard Nimoy’s recent admission along with the findings from this new study might help do just that.

At BuzzBack, we too were interested in understanding COPD better from a physician and patient perspective, so we decided to take a different approach that was highly effective in eliciting honest responses from both doctors and patients in a pre-established ‘safe-space’. Respondents participated in two BuzzBack Hive sessions over a one week period; they posted comments based on tasks and were encouraged to interact with other participants in the group. Interestingly, we learned that although current recommended and reported treatments involve few lifestyle modifications, patients’ advice to other COPD sufferers is almost strictly related to daily routine. Patients strongly suggest sufferers stop smoking, exercise, eat healthily, take medications, and establish consistency in doctor visits; this appears to be aspirational as many admit they struggle to follow their own advice.

For his part, Mr. Nimoy appears to be taking an upfront, positive approach to dealing with his diagnosis and much like the patients from our study is dishing out his own advice, albeit via twitter. Since his spotlight is a lot brighter than most suffering with COPD, maybe, just maybe the world will take notice.

To learn more about our COPD Study, like what doctors and patients said about new treatments,  send us an email.

 

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