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Most people lie to their doctors

December 7, 2018

According to a recent national survey, 60 to 80 percent of respondents lied to their doctors about their daily routine, such as diet, exercise and even whether they were taking their medications regularly. This can have negative consequences for a patient; it is impossible for doctors to give the best medical advice when they do not know the truth.

“If patients are withholding information about what they’re eating, or whether they are taking their medication, it can have significant implications for their health. Especially if they have a chronic illness,” said one of the researchers.

When patients explained why they lied, most said that they wanted to avoid being judged, did not want to be lectured about how bad certain behaviors were, or were too embarrassed to tell the truth. However, according to the researchers, the patients may not be the only ones to blame: “[h]ow providers are communicating in certain situations may cause patients to be hesitant to open up. This raises the question, is there a way to train clinicians to help their patients feel more comfortable?”

If health care providers are not already being trained to avoid value judgments, and blaming and shaming patients, then it is certainly time to add it to every doctor’s training.

Source & to read more: “Prevalence of and Factors Associated with Patient Nondisclosure of Medically Relevant Information to Clinicians” JAMA Network Open (2018). DOI: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2018.5293

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