Is it safe to use vague language, in medical reports? Assuming a patient reads such reports, should the patient be worried and follow up or leave the decision up to the doctors? Should a patient be a passive observer of her own healthcare process, or active participant?
For example, if an x-ray report states “assumed benign,” what does such language mean? Should such a report have a follow-up? The word “assumed” brings to mind uncertainty…Only a biopsy of the “assumed” benign part could give a 100% accurate result.
What if the dilemma continues, and the biopsy report states the results are “inconclusive.”
Does that mean the patient could rest assured everything is fine? Are such vague terms used in radiology or pathology reports ethical?
“Assumed benign” or “inconclusive?” Should those conditions be disregarded and considered safe? Should those individuals whose x-ray states ” assumed benign,” or whose biopsy using the term “inconclusive,” not be followed up and could the patient have the peace of mind she is fine?
How many people read their x-ray, MRI or pathology reports? What if the decisions of how to proceed further are solely taken by others on the healthcare team? In all truth, how many people know how to interpret these reports? Should we educate ourselves and have a saying in how our healthcare plan is handled or leave it to the members of OUR healthcare team enterely?
This is a very important personal choice!
DO YOU READ YOUR MEDICAL REPORTS? ARE YOU EDUCATED AND CORRECTLY UNDERSTAND THEM? ARE YOU AN ACTIVE PARTICIPANT, OR INACTIVE COMPONENT OF YOUR HEALTHCARE PROCESS?
I hope this post reminds us all of how important it is to be active in the process of our own healthcare. How vital it is to be educated about our specific medical conditions and view ourselves as unique and find a healthcare team to also considered and treat us as such.
My personal opinion is that we are part of our healthcare team and not passive components. We need to pay attention and understand the messages our bodies give us, so that we could describe them accurately and be part of the process, not just observers.
We are created unique and need to view ourselves and be viewed by others as such.
Keeping in mind the principle of “uniqueness,” experience taught me to question terms such as “generally or typically.” Reality turned out conditions were not “typical.” Unfortunately, in my case, nothing was “typical or general.”
Had I not insisted on the review of certain “typical results,” I wouldn’t be here to write this post. I wish I could say, “generally I win the lottery,” instead of “generally” certain health diagnosis didn’t applied to me. A history of “atypical conditions” caused me to become my own advocate, be extra careful and learn about all the participants of one’s healthcare team and how each plays a vital role in our correct diagnosis and treatment.
In my opinion, there is no “one size fits all” formula in medical care. We are unique and need to be treated as such. The field of medicine is called “a practice,” not a science or art. It is BOTH and more, unique in its complexity because it addresses the uniqueness of human beings!
YOUR VISIBLE AND INVISIBLE HEALTHCARE TEAM. WHO IS ON IT AND THEIR VITAL IMPORTANCE FOR YOUR LIFE
Our physicians are the visible team members, and so are we, the patients!
The “invisible team!”
The radiologists who read your studies: MRIs, cat scans, x-rays. For instance, if an x-ray report states
The pathologists who interpret biopsies and nature of tumors after surgery. If a pathology report states: INCONCLUSIVE, should a patient send the tissue for a 2nd opinion, or have the peace of mind that inconclusive means it is fine?
Other invisible members of your healthcare team:
The technicians collecting and analyzing your blood.
How about transportation? Many blood and urine samples must be transported in a timely fashion and refrigerated if the results are to be accurate. Is that performed as required?
Of course, it is impossible to know the details of every action performed by each member of a complex healthcare team. However, there is HELP and if we, as patients, have the desire to understand and participate in our own healthcare, we could!
Modern technology makes it easier for each patient to have an immediate and accurate report of their medical history.
AN ONLINE PORTAL gives a patient immediate and confidential access to all the medical studies performed. The information provided in the portal is in addition to being provided a printed summary of your doctor’s visit upon checking out. In my opinion, it cannot get any easier to be an active participant on your health care team.
In conclusion, what is our choice? Should we be active participants or passive observers of our own lives?