It should not be a great surprise to any of us, but a recently published study in the August issue of Archives of Internal Medicine concluded that there are significant gaps between what doctors think their patients know and what patients say they know!  The study consisted of a survey of 89 patients and 43 physicians which was given between October 2008 and June 2009 at the Waterbury Hospital, an affiliate of the  Yale School of Medicine.

Researchers found that there are  significant information discrepancies that reach all the way to even the most basic information.   Shockingly, the discrepancies even included  what was the doctors name! Two-thirds of physicians thought patients knew their names, but only 18 percent of patients could correctly tell the researchers their doctor’s name.

The other information gaps were as clear and were more critical as they could easily affect patient safety and their quality of care.   Seventy seven percent (77%) of the physicians thought that patients knew their diagnoses, while in reality only fifty seven  percent (57%) of patients correctly knew their diagnoses!

Furthermore, while two-thirds of patients reported receiving a new medication in the hospital, 90 percent of them said they had never been warned of the medication’s adverse side effects. Virtually all doctors (98 percent) said that they discussed their patients’ fears and anxieties. Still, only about half (46 percent) of the patients  agreed.

The survey respondents were older, indigent