Lie to me: when the patient misleads

Helping doctors to access “virgin” patients’ data in respect of privacy and a spontaneous shyness: maybe new assistive technologies can help to overcome also this.

More than lies, it would be more accurate to talk about omissions: recent studies have demonstrated how most of patients tend to hide details about their health condition, due to embarrassment and a sense of modesty. The Italian study that has involved 800 subjects among doctors and patients outlined some recursive patterns, offering some ambivalent data.

59% of interviewed specialists claims that patiens hide – at least partially – informations and details about the cause of their visit. That doesn’t damage their reliance on them; it’s not about insubordination: this mechanism underlies negligence and laziness (reasons involving 46% overall) and, most important, an Italian distrust towards medicines (we are talking about the 41% of cases).

The 47% of interviewed admits they won’t present themselves for a second visit just to ascertain about the prescribed care with another specialist. However, this percentage goes to balance a 40% of individuals who claims they just forgot the date or they have been defeated by laziness.

Generally speaking, 74% of our sample declares they won’t change their own specialist, both because of a feeling of reliance and a feeling of comfort and safety gave by having the same person guarding our clinical history.

Other studies confirm

A study published on JAMA Network Open, in Medical Education section, corroborates what we have seen previously: the majority of subjects (81%) – recruited with Mechanical Turk – have riported to have omitted to her/his own specialist at least one of the seven informative medical types of relevance, a fact which has been admitted too by the 61,4% of the other sample collected through Survey Sampling International’s tool. The omission type emerging as the most frequent is the one related to patient’s disagreement about prescription, followed by misunderstanding of care instructions.

Which are those reasons behind that? In first place, we have a 82% from Mturk and a 64% from SSI who reveals the intention of escaping specialist’s judgement; immediately after, we find a fear of being told about their own health status while, in conclusion, it is displayed a feeling of embarrassment relating habits and personal behaviours.

How to deal with this outlined scenario?

New technologies in respect of privacy

The aim is not to replace doctors of course, but an unobtrusive tool for monitoring patients’ health as Kibi could help to complete the clinical picture, allowing to access recorded and consulted data – always with the permission of related parties – to overcome a natural prudery/negligence in releasing all required clinical info.

Furthermore, its functioning as an “orthotic system” – basically, a reminder – through the implementation of a vocal assistant would help the patient to focus consciously on his/her prescriptions.

A smart, dynamic, discreet ally: new technologies applied in assistive contexts could be really representative of this trend. Privacy’s protection and autonomous, efficient filling of eventual communication’s gaps are privileged tools for obtaining priceless results, that is wellness and trust of your own patients.


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