June 7, 2019
Doctor communication: Burn-out, and too much judgment
The author discusses her experience at a diabetes Master Class entitled, “Working with, and for patients”.
By Heather Koga
The title of the Master Class program, “Working with, and for patients”, was underway. Last March, I was invited by Servier to attend the diabetes program in my capacity as one of the members of the IDF Blue Circle Voices network. The first effort of the morning was directed to assist an upcoming diabetes awareness program which needed the input of people with type 2 diabetes. The second was for the attendees, most of whom lived with diabetes, to interact with about 50 diabetologists and endocrinologists from across the world. The goal was for all involved to share challenges and experiences about doctor-patient communication. The objective? To improve relationships between healthcare providers and people with diabetes. Some of the insights included doctors admitting feeling burned out from heavy work loads while people with diabetes felt unheard and judged.
Improving practitioner-patient communication has become a priority in modern healthcare systems today mostly because it improves diabetes clinical outcomes. Previous studies suggest that doctors who score higher on empathy and compassion in patient communication, also score higher on treatment outcomes.
Doctors and people with diabetes were asked to express their concerns regarding the barriers to communication that negatively affect the doctor-patient relationship, and ultimately treatment outcomes.
Some of the insights included doctors admitting feeling burned out from heavy work loads while people with diabetes felt unheard and judged.
By incorporating the voice of people with diabetes, and by taking into consideration experiences, thoughts and recommendations, the program was unique and a great success. Convening the doctor-patient program set up an important commitment from the professionals. Participating doctors were keen to incorporate the voices of the people with diabetes they treat into their practices going forward.
As a person living with type 2 diabetes and a member of the Blue Circle Voices Network, participating at this forum was a valuable experience as it afforded me the opportunity to give my perspective of what it is like to live with the condition on a daily basis. The lessons learnt at this conference will be beneficial to me as an individual and also to the communities that I work with in the fight against diabetes. It is my hope that there will be more opportunities for people with diabetes to be heard at such important platforms going forward.
The Diabetes Master Class was organised by Servier International and held in Paris, France.
Heather Koga has lived with type 2 diabetes since 2013 and is from Zimbabwe.