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Study shows better listening by doctors would reduce medical errors

Modern Healthcare reported this week that a new study confirmed what patients already know:  some doctors make mistakes because they don't listen to their patients.  By the way , the study  wasn't financed by trial lawyers:  it was conducted by the Dartmouth Atlas Project -- Improving Patient Decision-Making in Health Care in conjunction with the Foundation for Informed Medical Decision Making.  The study study closely examined medical decisions treated by elective care and determined that an inappropriate proportion of physicians don't adequately educate their patients--or listen to their preferences--resulting in elective care that is inappropriate.  The researchers found, for example, that this problem contributes to a  two- or three-fold variation in the likelihood of surgery for low back pain, and unnecessary multi-modal treatment for cancer. And, needless to say,  it results in excessive health care expenses as ill-informed patients opt for poorly explained treatments that "leave no dollar [available from a third-party payor] on the table."

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