January 3, 2012

Does Your Doctor Go On Autopilot?

This is a realization that I can relate to happening. I have one doctor that seems to go on autopilot during almost every visit. I will be analyzing key words in the future to see what sends him to autopilot. I do know that he is not in favor of patients that take a proactive role in their care and would prefer I just follow his instructions.

This is an excellent article about doctors and their discussion of using autopilot. I cannot blame the site for only allowing doctors to use the open discussion area. I can appreciate the topic being written about for the public area with some of the discussions included in the article.

Please take time to read the full article. This may help you understand your doctor when he switches to autopilot and teach you ways to recognize this, find ways to prevent autopilot, and help you turn his/her autopilot off. Time is important to us as patients and we will not get much information when a doctor goes on autopilot.

One doctor suggested that he uses handouts for information patients need. The doctor goes over the handouts pointing out the areas of good progress and areas needing attention with the patient before just handing it to the patient. The doctor says this may be autopilot, but at the same time gives the patient something to review. To me this would be acceptable especially if this allows time for answering your questions.

This can be a two-way disadvantage as one physician stated. If the patient recognizes the autopilot, they in turn will tune you out. Well stated doctor! For those patients that are proactive in their care, many will seek other doctors if autopilot is used regularly on them.

There are good reasons for using autopilot by some doctors, and for some cases, it can serve several purposes. It can get doctors past some sticky topics that need saying and the patients need to hear. It can prevent doctors from getting into areas that he/she knows the patient does not want to think about and would turn them off.

When you really think about doctors using autopilot, there can be good reasons, bad reasons and other reasons that need to be visualized. People all react differently and doctors need to realize this before switching to autopilot. Even the doctor thinking about how the patient will react may prevent switching to autopilot.

No comments: