When it comes to wellness professionals say they can’t do it all; they rely heavily on the participation of their patients. Our friends at All For Health Community Center gave us this recent example of challenges they face in getting patients to be active participants in their health decisions.
“I had a discussion with a friend recently about their experience with a local dermatology office. He had gone to a local dermatologist over a year ago and was given a topical medication for his face. He went home and tried it for a few months and it didn’t seem to really work. He never went back. He tried a variety of other things on his own and then last month he decided to see a different dermatologist. He was then prescribed a “much stronger” medication that seems to be working. He felt the first dermatologist should have given him this medication.
I tried to reason with him that he should have followed up when the first medication wasn’t working and that the patient has to be an active participant in his healthcare. This isn’t an uncommon complaint. I hear it often. I understand the frustration and inconvenience of having to make follow up appointments. Unfortunately, we can’t always prescribe the “big guns” as the initial treatment and really you shouldn’t want us to.
When we pick a medication or treatment for our patients we often try to chose the product that’s less invasive or with the lowest side effects. If that is ineffective we will then move up to the next level and finally after all else fails we will go to the “big guns.” Sometimes this is because we are trying to protect our patients from potential side effects. Sometimes we are trying to stay with older/generic medications because they are less expensive and have been researched more thoroughly. Other times it is insurance that drives what we can prescribe and what must be tried first.
Whatever the reason, we rely on our patients’ input, history and follow up to make necessary changes to their regimen. I often have this discussion with my patients at their first appointment. I explain that I do expect a level of participation and responsibility from them. I find that the more invested a person is in their health the more likely they are to improve.”
For more information about health services provided by All For Health Community Center, call (805) 466-5600.