MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Sosena Kebede, MD, MPH
Assistant Professor of Medicine, Department of Medicine
Associate Faculty, the Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
Faculty, Department of Health Policy and Management and
Baltimore, MD 21287
Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?
Dr. Kebede: There were 3 main findings in this study:
1. Patients’ understanding of aspects of their hospital care is suboptimal on the domains of knowledge of diagnoses, indications for the medications they take and the types of procedures/tests they get. Some forms of poor shared understanding could have potentially serious implications for their health and for future care such as identifying a prescribed antidepressant as a blood thinner or mistaking an echocardiogram a left heart catheterization or thinking a liver cyst is a liver cancer. Other forms of poor shared understanding such as not accurately identifying why a procedure is done or what the results of the procedure show (a finding not discussed in the research letter) may seem less consequential but raise the issue of informed consent, patient empowerment and may alsoraise questions about patient and physician behavior towards appropriate use of in-patient procedures. Some of the questions we could ask here include: would patients demand more or less procedures if they had better understanding of what the procedures entail, and why they are beingordered? Conversely, would physicians recommend more or less of in-patient procedures, when they encounter patients whose understanding of procedure indications are optimal?