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Do Patients Really Understand What's Good for Them?

October 6, 2005
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Researchers report in a recent issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings that more than half of their study patients were unable to list their medications, diagnoses, treatment plan (names and purposes of medications) and common side effects of prescribed medications.

The findings are of concern to physicians, because failure of patients to follow treatment plans or understand the requirements after leaving their care could result in readmission to the hospital with compounding health problems and additional health care costs.

Patients are responsible to follow treatment plans, but communication from physicians and health care teams needs to improve to meet the patient's needs, say the study's authors.

The research studied 43 patients from July to October 1999.

The authors report that 72 percent of the patients were not able to list the names of all of their medications; however, more could state the purpose of their medications. About 58 percent of the patients were unable to recount their diagnosis or diagnoses.

However, the authors recommend that further study take place to fully ascertain the effects of the problem their study has identified.

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