I’ve been on the receiving end of more healthcare information than anyone in my life, and it’s never been more important.
But it’s not easy to get informed consent, even if you’re a doctor or a nurse.
“It’s been a long time coming,” said Dr. James C. Matson, president and chief executive of the American College of Nurse-Midwives.
He and other doctors, nurses and midwives are fighting to get the information out there and to have it shared, in hopes that people will use it more wisely.
Matson said doctors and nurses need to be on the same page as patients.
“We need to understand what’s going on with the information that we give out, and the patient needs to be able to make an informed decision,” he said.
We need informed, non-judgmental consent for all of our medical care decisions.
We need to educate patients about the risks and benefits of various medications, medical procedures and tests, Matson said.
“The American College, in its annual report, found that over 1.5 million patients are not getting the health care they need, and that’s because they have not been given the information and have not received the informed consent needed to make informed health care decisions,” Matson wrote.
For example, many doctors, midwives and dentists aren’t allowed to prescribe certain medications.
But there are some exceptions, such as when a doctor needs to administer a medication to a patient or a dentist is performing a medical procedure.
The American Academy of Pediatrics says that doctors should also be on board with the idea of having patients sign a consent form that allows them to be notified about medical treatment.
Dr. David C. Paley, president of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, said he wants patients to know the risks, benefits and when to get a doctor’s advice on any procedure.
“There are no gray areas in medical care,” Paley said.
“You have to be proactive and do your homework.”
Paley also wants patients and their family members to be informed about any medications they are being given, especially in the event that the drugs are causing side effects, as is the case with some common antibiotics.
Doctors and midwifes say they also need to have an understanding of how much time is needed to treat a patient, and how much they need to spend with the patient to make sure they don’t overdo it.
“What’s the difference between a day of treatment, a day and a week of treatment?”
“It’s a matter of priorities.”
Palliative care doctors say they are frustrated with the lack of transparency.
One of the biggest concerns doctors and midwife have is that the information is not being shared with the patients, especially because some patients are unaware of their rights.
Catherine Toth, president, Patient Rights for Healthcare Providers, said she is frustrated by the lack the transparency of the information.
“This is an important issue,” Toth said.
She wants patients, patients’ families and the healthcare system to be better informed about the options available to them.
She also wants doctors and their doctors’ assistants to be aware of patient rights.
“If they don, they don.”
“The patient is our patient,” Tuth said.
That means they can always have a conversation, and can get help when they need it.
A physician or nurse who is not on the front lines of the healthcare decision making process can’t do their job without understanding the patients’ needs, Toth added.
“I am in the front line of healthcare decision-making, and I have been in that role for 25 years.”
“It is important to have transparency and to share as much information as possible,” Muth said, adding that physicians and nurses should also take part in the discussion about what information should be shared.
“They need to learn more about the patient, about their healthcare needs and their medical needs and what they should be asking for.”
Doctors are also being asked to help patients understand the risks of various treatments, medications and tests.
While some patients may not be aware that the doctor prescribed them the medicine, or they may not understand why they need the medicine or even what it does, they should always be told what the medicine is, Muth added.