(203) 692-4422

Medical Uncertainty

Medical uncertainty.

Incomplete science is a major problem that you and your doctors must grapple with. That means sorting out the risks, benefits, alternatives and unknowns of every medical decision.

While medical science has advanced rapidly over the past 100 years, medicine is not a science like engineering. Engineers build bridges that rarely fail because they use well-tested science. The best medical treatments can still fail because of the uncertainties that haunt medical science. Doctors can’t hurt or destroy the objects of their study the way physicists can, so it’s a lot harder for them to fully test their science. Plus, as with all human endeavors, medical science is susceptible to the confusion created by biases and emotions, as the attached article about the uncertainties of fats in our food nicely shows.

Doctors should present the science behind their decisions to help manage the risks,benefits, alternatives and unknowns of their decisions with you. If your doctors don’t have the time to fully explain their plans, we can help you interpret and analyze the science, and the risks, benefits, alternatives and unknowns with your doctors. We help you collaborate so you can direct the medical choices you and your doctor make together.

It’s your health. We help you take charge of it. Contact us via email or call for more information on how.

Check out the NY Times article to learn more.

Understanding collaborative healthcare coaching

Diagnosis – Risks – Benefits – Alternatives – Unknowns – Safety

Every medical decision should account for those.  Doctors don’t have the kind of exact science that some professionals like engineers do.  When designing a bridge engineers can rely on precise formulas to create a structure that will rarely fail.  Because medical science is still imprecise, doctors must take definitive action with incomplete scientific knowledge.  Even the best medical decision carries risk for failure.  The right medicine can be dangerous or even fatal when a patient has an unpredictable or uncommon reaction to it.  Medical conditions have far too many variations for our current science to account for.

As healthcare has grown more complex, it has become difficult or sometimes even impossible for doctors to keep track of all of the variables that affect your health and your treatment decisions.   Doctors also have less and less time to get to know your own values and goals.  A good doctor will coach each patient on how they can best manage the risks, benefits, alternatives, unknowns and safety of tests for making a diagnosis, or treatments that enable healing.  Incomplete healthcare coaching can increase uncertainty, or cause unwanted risks and outcomes.  We have decades of experience collaborating with patients to make good medical decisions that they were in charge of.

We don’t provide your medical care, but we will help you assure that yours accounts your own goals and values, and addresses the risks, benefits, alternatives, unknowns and safety of every decision your doctors make with you.  We will also help you to execute those decisions safely and effectively.

Contact us to see if collaborative healthcare coaching is right for you.

How to collaborate with your doctors and take charge of your medical decisions

Do you feel bewildered after a visit to the doctor?  Do you feel unsure that your treatment plan is right for you?  Do you feel like you don’t have control of the decisions your doctor makes for you?   I have seen many patients who have felt that way, and often they were right about something their doctor had overlooked or not understood about them or their treatment decision.

In its drive to reduce costs, the healthcare financing system has moved from a goal of enabling individuals to receive affordable, high quality care to a goal of treating populations to maximize the benefits and minimize costs for the group being covered.  More and more doctors are paid for the value they bring to the entire population they treat, rather than for treating the patient sitting in the office with them.

It is more critical than ever to ask the right questions of your doctor to assure that your care is the right care for you as an individual, not just the care that follows the guidelines designed to work cost-effectively for a larger group.

Our course on how to collaborate in your medical decisions introduces the concepts you need to take charge of your healthcare in this changing environment.

Contact us to find out more about our course.