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Medical miscommunication

Doctors and nurses are using far too much jargon when dealing with patients, according to a recent survey.

The survey suggested that one in five patients has taken the wrong dose of medication on at least one occasion. It also found that 39% of patients surveyed would like their doctor, nurse or pharmacist to avoid technical terms when explaining medical matters.

Patients, as the survey reveals, are often too embarrassed to ask for further explanations of something they haven’t understood. And half of the 15- to 34-year-olds surveyed preferred to look on the internet for more information.

The survey was carried out as part of the Crystal Clear Pharmacy and General Practice Programme, which was developed by Merck, Sharp & Dohme (MSD) and the National Adult Literacy Agency (NALA).

Brian Longstreet, Managing Director of MSD Human Health, emphasised the issue.

“Patients are calling for healthcare professionals to speak to them in a more understandable manner and the feedback we have had from pharmacies and general practices supports this finding.

“Ensuring patients are better informed about their own health is key to delivering good health outcomes.”

As we’ve stated on many occasions, this is a potential matter of life and death. There is no reason or excuse for not providing a patient with information which is easy to understand and clear guidance on medication. We welcome this and any similar move to provide patients with the information they need and are entitled to.

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