Doctors diagnose their flaws

February 10, 2012

A survey of almost 1,891 physicians across the country finds that for some doctors, honesty is not always the best policy.

Approximately one third of participating physicians reported they did not completely agree that they should disclose medical errors to patients (20% of whom admitting they were afraid of being sued for malpractice).  TIME Healthland reports that 40 percent felt they did not need to disclose financial ties to drug or device companies.

In the past year, 55 percent of doctors said they had been more positive about a patient’s prognosis than warranted. Ten percent reported telling patients something that was not true.

Dr. Lisa Lezzioni, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and the study’s lead author says:

“The finding that 55 percent had described a prognosis in a more positive manner than was warranted is pretty significant…They may not want to worry patients, or there may be cultural reasons why it feels inappropriate.”

According to The Huffington Post, the study notes that not enough training, insecurity over the accuracy of a prognosis, and lack of time may also play a role.

This study is published in the journal Health Affairs.


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