Friday, September 19, 2003

Author Says Patients and Doctors Need Work On Communications Skills

Author Says Patients and Doctors Need Work On Communications Skills

Florida author Kay Day says both patients and doctors need to learn how to talk to one another. Doing so increases chances for success in both healing and cost-savings.

Jacksonville, FL (PRWEB) August 11, 2005

As Florida author Kay Day wrote the book Killing Earl (Ocean Publishing, June, 2005), she realized that communication between patient and physician can be a challenge for both. She learned that lack of communications can be a barrier to a timely diagnosis and can also increase treatment costs.

“Our daughter Becky was 12 years old,” says Day. “No one knew what was wrong with her. I believe it took longer to figure it out and the costs were higher because of communications.”

The author watched her daughter try to talk to the doctor, and realized that both of them had a problem. “The doctor would fire questions at her and Becky would just stumble over the answers,” said Day. “When I’d pick up her records later, I’d see information that hadn’t been fully explained. Sometimes I’d realize the test she’d just undergone didn’t help.”

Day says the Internet was a valuable tool. “A pre-teen isn’t exactly equipped to deal with all aspects of testing, imaging, and examinations—decisions about what to agree to,” she says. “So a parent or guardian has to be informed.”

“You’d be amazed at what you learn when you are politely assertive and ask questions,” says the author. “And clear information can often make the patient more comfortable. I learned to ask questions of every member of the healthcare team. I learned to speak to the doctors and nurses with an information-based approach. Just as important is talking to your pharmacist--this professional is often overlooked by the patient as a resource. I learned it’s okay to ask about risks from medications. Those are a few reasons our daughter was cured.”

Day says that for several years, groups such as the American College of Physicians have emphasized talking to patients and improving skills to that end. “I don’t think they can deliver that message enough,” she says, “regardless of the patient’s age.”

Day wrote Killing Earl because her daughter asked her to. “Earl” was the name Becky used to refer to her pain. “I hope nobody has to deal with an Earl,” Becky says.

Day is on a “ten city plus” book tour for her new memoir. She is blogging the tour on the Net at Bookbeat (http://bookbeat. blogspot. com (http://bookbeat. blogspot. com)). She has visited South Carolina, with early stops at both independent and chain stores in Miami, Fernandina Beach, and Savannah. Pre-launch events were held in her home city, Jacksonville, Florida. The author will visit a number of additional cities in fall and winter, including a featured author spot at the Florida Council of Teachers of English conference in Orlando. The book's introduction is written by one of America's most distinguished physicians, John V. Campo, M. D.

“One message I’m offering is aimed at the physician,” Day explains. “Doctors need to listen better.” She adds, “And patients need to be informed.” Patients may visit Day’s Net site, kayday. com, for information and tips.


Kay Day


Kdaynjax@comcast. net