The care we receive as patients is influenced by a myriad of factors: the number of patients who have already passed through that consultation on any given day, the hours the doctor has been awake, the “time limit” of the consultation… The vast majority of these variables are beyond our control, there is nothing we can do. Regarding this, one of the things that is under our control is, for example, to be very clear about our symptoms, so as not to create sudden confusion during the consultation that could cause us to overlook important things.
But the reality is that the treatment we receive as patients, beyond being concise and kind, is beyond our control. And this fact has become more than clear now thanks to a new study published by researchers from Harvard Medical School in the United States, which has exposed that another factor beyond our control also has a great impact on the medical service we receive: if our primary care physician and the specialist to whom we are referred know each other.
“It’s not just about communication with patients, but also camaraderie, the quality of explanations, and displays of concern”
To carry out their study, the researchers used a huge database with the records of more than 8,600 patients who had been referred by their primary care physicians to specialists between 2016 and 2019. After obtaining these data, they analyzed which patients were referred to doctors who had coincided in university or post-doctoral programs with primary care physicians and which ones were not, separating them into two groups.
This allowed the researchers to determine that, according to patients’ personal experience, those who had been treated by doctors who knew each other “had been treated with more concern by specialists, receiving clearer explanations of what was happening to them and perceiving greater involvement in their condition and well-being.”
In a statement to Harvard Medicine News, one of the authors of the study, J. Michael McWilliams, explains that “interactions between primary care physicians and specialists are one of the main foundations of modern medicine, and the referral process is where patient care takes shape.” According to the researcher, it is not only this fundamental aspect that is altered (for the better) but also a display of the professionalism of the doctors
Disc Replacement has been growing in popularity and is now used regularly as an alternative to spinal fusion surgery.