Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Letting Doctors Make the Tough Decisions

Excerpt from the 11 August New York Times article

…..When it came to medical decisions, almost all the respondents wanted their doctors to offer choices and consider their opinions. But a majority of patients — two out of three — also preferred that their doctors make the final decisions regarding their medical care.

“The data says decisively that most patients don’t want to make these decisions on their own” said Dr. Farr A. Curlin, an associate professor of medicine at the University of Chicago and one of the authors of the study.

The challenges appear to arise not when the medical choices are obvious, but when the best option for a patient is uncertain. In these situations, when doctors pass the burden of decision-making to a patient or family, it can exacerbate an already stressful situation. “If a physician with all of his or her clinical experience is feeling that much uncertainty,” Dr. Curlin said, “imagine what kind of serious anxiety and confusion the patient and family may be feeling.”

Patients and their families also often don’t realize that their doctors may be grappling with their own set of worries. …

Read the entire New York Times article

August 13, 2011 Posted by | Health News Items, Psychology | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Views on health disparities fueled largely by political ideology

Harry Perlstadt, a Michigan State University sociologist, contends party ideology is more important than party affiliation when it comes to public perception of health disparities.

 

From a November 9 Michigan State University press release

EAST LANSING, Mich. — When it comes to public perception about health disparities in the United States, political ideology plays a surprisingly large role – more so even than party affiliation, according to new research by a Michigan State University sociologist.

“As far as our beliefs about unequal access to health care, whether we are conservative or liberal seems to be much more important than whether we are Republican or Democrat,” said Harry Perlstadt, professor of sociology.

Perlstadt’s study is the first to scientifically examine political and ideological beliefs on the issue of health disparities. He will present his findings today at the American Public Health Association’s 138th annual meeting in Denver….

…….He commissioned a telephone survey with MSU’s Institute for Public Policy and Social Research that gathered information on the respondents and asked a series of questions regarding their beliefs about health disparities. The questions included, “How often do you think the health care system treats people unfairly based on whether they have health insurance?” and “How often does a person’s race or ethnic background affect whether they can get routine medical care when they need it?”

Perlstadt analyzed the survey data and found that race, age, sex, income and whether a respondent lived in an urban or rural community all influenced their beliefs on health disparities. Political party and ideology also affected their beliefs – only not quite as Perlstadt had predicted.

November 9, 2010 Posted by | Health News Items | , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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