Doctor with digital tablet comforting older man in hospital. Photo: Jose Luis Pelaez Inc (Getty)
Having a good relationship with your doctor is apparently much better than a fast internet connection to quickly diagnose your ailments on WebMD.
According to Yahoo! Lifestyle, a new study says patients who see the same doctor over time have lower death rates. Obviously, all of us will die at some point. However, having the same man or woman telling you to turn your head cough pushes the expiration date further down the line.
After being conducted by St. Leonard’s Practice in Exeter and the University of Exeter Medical School, the research was recently published in BMJ Open. It reiterates that a “human side to medicine” is essential in a patient’s long-lasting health.
“This phenomenon applies to specialists as well as generalist doctors,” author Denis Pereira Gray said. “We have found articles which include surgeons and psychiatrists, so we think this is a human effect that goes across medicine.”
To come to their conclusions, Gray and his team analyzed 22 studies “from nine countries with very different cultures and health systems.” They included data on whether patients saw the same doctor along with their age at the time of death (or if it hadn’t occurred yet). The team found 18 out of the 22 studies showed “with continuous care with the same doctor over time, there was a lower death rate among patients.”
My Wisconsin public high school education tells me that’s a good number. Yet, as is often the case with studies like this, there were some factors the study didn’t account for. Those included whether or not the patient was a smoker, as well as age and sex. Plus, they obviously didn’t take into account those patients who saw Dr. Jack Kevorkian.