Remain Loyal to Your Doctor – Live Longer

A recent study by researchers in Exeter and published in the BMJ Open evaluated data of over 1 million patients. The results are interesting: staying loyal to your doctor instead of continuously switching in the search of the “perfect” doctor, has a bigger impact on a patient’s well-being and health than expected. Continuity and a well established patient-doctor relationship have a positive impact on health and well-being. Patients were less likely to get sick and more likely to live to a higher age if they remained with their doctor for several decades.

Patients know how important it is to see the “right” doctor” but now we realise it’s not just a question of habit and convenience but a question of quality and even a matter of life and death. This could be partly due to patients having more faith in their doctor and thus becoming more open. It could also be due to patients being more open to comply to therapies and advice for lifestyle changes by someone they trust.

A GP’s responsibility includes protecting the patient from unnecessary or even dangerous oversupply. A good GP or family doctor is an important advisor on which examination and treatments are required and which ones may be omitted. The advances in medicine over the last 200 years have been primarily of technical nature but continuity in patient care is also an important factor.

As the study included a variety of cultures and patient groups in North America, Europe and Asia, the authors presume the positive impact on patients is based on a basic human effect: faith and trust.

Posted on June 30, 2018 by Luitgard Holzleg

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