For many, sharing person health details with their doctor can be uncomfortable. One of the most import factors in your relationship with your healthcare team is honesty.
In a 2018 study as many 80% of all patients lie or withhold information from their providers. Surprisingly a survey of 300 US adults in 2015 by ZocDoc found that women are more likely to lie or omit information during a doctor’s appointment. The same study showed that respondents over the age 65 avoided raising issues their doctor because they felt it was not serious or worth discussing.
Why patients do not share all health information
The 2018 study identified many reasons why a patient may lie or omit health information. The most cited reason was that they did not want to be judged or lectured about their behaviors. They also did not want to hear how bad their behavior/habits were for their health and want their providers to like them. For others they were simply embarrassed about their choices, didn’t want the information in their medical records or not wanting to waste their doctor’s time.
What do patients lie about?
The simple answer is just about everything, usually from shame or fear. More common lies or omission are:
• How often they follow or that they didn’t follow their doctor’s instructions
• Medication management
• Diet and exercise
• Mental and emotional state
• Their sex life
• The financial situation and how it may affect their healthcare
• Sharing all their symptoms
• Whether they smoke, have quit smoking and how many cigarettes they smoke a day
• Their alcohol consumption
• Their use of recreational drugs
Some of these may seem unimportant to your health, but all of these things play a vital to your healthcare provider to understand your overall health and risk factors.
Your habits and hobbies can affect your medical care
They play a big role in your health and can even impact other health risks you may experience. We all know that smoking can lead to numerous health complications and if you doctor knows you smoke, they will make decisions accordingly.
“Bad” habits are not the only things you should share with your doctor. Letting your doctor know if you participate in any type of intense physical activity is important as well.
Your doctor has seen and it all
Most likely your healthcare provider has experience with thousands of patients and most likely anything you say will not surprise or shock them. Your doctor is not there to judge you but to help you. They can’t provide the care you need without having all the information.
Be honest about any of your concerns
If you have concerns about a vaccination, medication, or procedure, talk to your doctor. If you have anxiety about a procedure let them know so they can address those concerns. Your healthcare provider will happily provide explanation about a procedure or information about a treatment plan because the better you understand it, the more likely you are to follow it.
Why honesty is important
From the information you provide your doctor suggest treatments and procedures. If they are receiving bad information those treatments and procedures may not have the expected outcome.
Research has shown that have good communication with your medical provider will lead to more appropriate medical decisions with better outcomes. When your doctor doesn’t have all the information it makes it very hard, if not impossible for your doctor to properly diagnose and treat you.
Your healthcare provider is your partner not your enemy
Your entire healthcare team wants you to live your happiest and healthiest life, in order for that to happen they need to understand your overall health and habits.
No matter the issue, your doctor can answer your questions and provide additional resources. Being honest starts a conversation which is key to building a relationship to help you live a healthy life.
Remember, Dr. Bobish and her team are here to listen to your concerns and want to provide the best care they can for you. They cannot do that if you are not completely honest with them.