Ask Dr. Joy: Are you truthful with your Doctor?

By WEEK Producer

March 27, 2013 Updated Mar 27, 2013 at 6:41 PM CDT

You enter your doctor or therapist’s office to reach out for assistance, but do you really reveal the truth at your appointment?

Do you find yourself sugar-coating some of the facts for fear of disapproval, minimizing a diagnosis or out of fear?

What do we know about deception in health care offices?
*It’s human nature to want your doctor or therapist to like you.
*Half-truths, deceptions and lies can be hard to detect and can alter your ability to attain assistance from your provider
*Common lies include facts about exercise, weight, medication use or abuse, sexual behaviors, which could effect a diagnosis.
*Clients or patients tend to use these white lies to avoid hospitalization, changes in lifestyle, or to attain something like a handicapped parking pass to get around the law.

What have studies shown?
*In 2007 28-percent of patients say they omitted information or lied to their providers
*77-percent of providers said that they believed that ¼ of their clients lied
*The remaining 23-percent of providers believed that 50-percent or more of their clients lied
*Patients 25-34 are more likely to lie vs older patients (WebMD)
*Men are 2x as likely to get caught lying vs women
*Many report lying because fear of disappointing their provider or fear of information going to their employers

What do we know about the statistics of Providers not being honest?
*Providers are fearful of language that might have negative interpretations and use more general language and mask diagnosis
*10-percent of MDs in Health Affairs journal study said that they told some untrue to their patients in the last year giving a more positive diagnosis
*20-percent of MDs said they did not fully disclose a mistake to a patient for fear of litigation.

So, remember the only way that you can attain accurate assistance from your providers is to be 100-percent truthful, and to find a doctor that you can trust and who will be honest and open with you.