USA Today Examines Communication ‘Gap’ Between Physicians, Patients
USA Today examines the physician-patient "communication gap," which has become "wider than ever" in the United States. Although treatments for diseases such as diabetes and asthma have become more complex in recent years, physicians have less time to provide patients with explanations, in part because of managed care. Managed care often prompts physicians to work "with a stopwatch mentality," according to Barry Weiss, professor of clinical family and community medicine at the University of Arizona College of Medicine. The Partnership for Clear Health Communication, a coalition of medical organizations that includes the American Medical Association, hopes to address the issue with a new Web site, http://www.askme3.org/. The Web site, which will launch on May 7, will recommend that patients ask their physicians three questions: "What is my main problem," "What do I need to do" and "Why is it important to do this?" David Baker, chief of general internal medicine at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago and a member of the coalition board, said, "If patients understand what's wrong with them, they're going to do better. They're going to be more satisfied with their care" (Rubin, USA Today, 5/1).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.