Complexities of Outcome Measures

Moving Away from Complexities to Better Outcomes

Outcome Measures

Complexities of Outcome Measures and Patient Self Diagnosis

One of the Complexities of Outcome Measures is dealing with patient self-diagnosis. Hospitals need to measure outcomes and the increasing frequency of patient self-diagnosis affects the outcome measures of a hospital. Self-diagnosis slows things down as the doctors or nurses are not able to do their jobs as quickly as they should with constant interruption and with patients asking for tests that they don’t need. So how do hospitals tackle patient self-diagnosis so it doesn’t add to the complexities of outcome measures?


How to Tackle Self-diagnosis to Reduce Complexities of Outcome Measures


Tell Patients to Keep Searching Online

 Complexities of Outcome Measures

This approach to tackling self-diagnosis can seem counter-intuitive but it has positive results. Many patients self-diagnose out of fear of their illness and fear of not being heard. It could also be because they have trust issues. Telling them to keep searching online or directing them to more legitimate online sources sends a message across to the patients that they are being heard and that their feelings and fears are validated. It also shows them that you the doctor or nurse is confident in your diagnosis and that you are not trying to shield the patient from gaining more knowledge on the subject.

Create Your Own Online Resource Center


You can get ahead of the self-diagnosis problem by providing patients with your own online resources. Create a blog on your hospital’s website or give patients access to your archive of online resources. You can also suggest resources to patients for them to read – like giving them reading assignments. Direct them to legitimate sites that your trust or even accredited sites like the American Academy of Family Physicians or the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) . Link these resources to your website and bring them up when your patient starts to self-diagnose based on something they found on the web. Ask them the legitimacy of the site and direct them to your resources instead. Also, share these resources on your website, in your waiting room brochures, and on your social media pages (if you have those).

That way, patients become more familiar with them. If you want you can take it further and create your own online resource that has a lot of content and legitimacy. I mentioned above about having a blog section on your website. On there, you can provide well-researched information on your specialty areas in easy to understand articles. For example, if you are a fertility clinic, you can write articles on fertility, case studies on past cases you’ve treated and answers to frequently asked questions. That way, even before the patient visits you, they have an idea on what to ask you about their doubts and they won’t be tempted to go to other resources online that don’t provide detailed enough information. These resources will also bring more attention to your practice and start to establish you as an authority and thought leader in your field. In addition, having regular online content will help you gain more visibility and will bring you more new patients.

Complexities of Outcome Measures

Let Patient’s Discuss their Doubts


Another way doctors and nurses can help with reducing self-diagnosis is to encourage patients to discuss their self-diagnosis research with them. Again, this seems counter-intuitive but it actually helps speed things up. Constantly interrupting the patient to tell them they are wrong will only make patient want to talk more and it’ll make them not receptive to you and dampen the mood of the consultation. Giving them a chance to talk lets the patient air out all their doubts and then they run out of things to say or realize that they shouldn’t be doing all the talking since they came to you for your opinion. This will lead them to be quiet and then let you talk and give your professional opinion. Letting patients talk will lead to them trusting you more and will lead to a more holistic relationship between doctor and patient and a lasting trust being established.

Complexities of Outcome Measures

Patient engagement is a positive thing and the healthcare industry is trying to increase it. The paradox is that patient self-diagnosis is actually one effective gateway to increased patient engagement. Self-diagnosis means that a patient is curious about their health and it means that they care about getting better (of course there are exceptions). Handling this the right way could lead to a doctor having a more engaged patient and handling it the wrong way 9/shutting them up, mocking their self-diagnosis, being standoffish to them) will lead the patient to be discouraged and lose interest in being an engaged patient.