Patient-doc communication: Listen carefully when patients tell you they don't feel well

When patients say they don’t feel well, doctors should listen because there are likely underlying biologic reasons, according to a new study.

The study, published in Psychoneuroendocrinology, found that when patients said they didn’t feel well, they indeed had high virus and inflammation levels. On the other hand, when patients said they felt well, they had low levels.

“I think the take-home message is that self-reported health matters,” Christopher P. Fagundes, an assistant psychology professor at Rice University and a co-author of the study, told The New York Times.  “Physicians should pay close to attention to their patients. There are likely biological mechanisms underlying why they feel their health is poor.”

Free Daily Newsletter

Like this story? Subscribe to FierceHealthcare!

The healthcare sector remains in flux as policy, regulation, technology and trends shape the market. FierceHealthcare subscribers rely on our suite of newsletters as their must-read source for the latest news, analysis and data impacting their world. Sign up today to get healthcare news and updates delivered to your inbox and read on the go.

The researchers used data from 1,200 people who participated in the Texas City Stress and Health Study, which tracked the stress and health levels of patients living near Houston. The participants completed a self-report measure of their health and a blood draw. They were analyzed for markers of inflammation and the activity of latent herpes virus. Higher self-reported health was associated with less reactivation of latent herpes viruses, the study found.

Investing in education to help doctors communicate with their patients can pay off for physician practices, as FiercePracticeManagement reported.

- read the study abstract
- find the article


Suggested Articles

Humana and Microsoft announced a seven-year strategic partnership to build predictive solutions and intelligent automation to support Humana members.

Humana filed suit Friday against more than a dozen generic drugmakers alleging the companies engaged in price fixing.

Ochsner Health System is partnering with Color to launch a population health pilot program to integrate genetic information into preventive care.