Dr Leana Wen: What Your Doctor Won’t Disclose

whendoctorsdontlistenDr Leana Wen founded Who’s My Doctor: The Total Transparency Manifesto, a campaign to help patients learn vital information about their own doctors.

Physician and public health advocate Leana Wen has traveled the world listening to patients’ stories. Born in Shanghai, she was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, a reporter with The New York Times’ Nick Kristof, and a fellow at the World Health Organization before assuming her current position as Director of Patient-Centered Care Research in the Department of Emergency Medicine at George Washington University. Inspired by struggles during her mother’s long illness, she wrote When Doctors Don’t Listen, a book about empowering patients to avoid misdiagnoses and unnecessary tests.

As an outspoken leader among a new generation of physicians, she served as President of the American Medical Student Association and as Chair of the International Young Professionals Commission. Her latest cause is Who’s My Doctor, a campaign for radical transparency in medicine. Read her own transparency statement.

Please, Sign The Petition To Make Doctors Accountable To Patients.

The Health-Care Survivor’s Comment

The principles of humanity, and openness, must be placed at the heart of all forms of health care, throughout the world.

Whether you are the doctor, or the patient, the next time you enter a consulting room, or a hospital ward, I urge you to keep Dr Wen’s wise words in mind.

We can bridge the disconnect between what doctors do and what patients need. We can get there, because we’ve been there before, and we know that transparency gets us to that trust. Research has shown us that openness also helps doctors, that having open medical records, being willing to talk about medical errors, will increase patient trust, improve health outcomes, and reduce malpractice. That openness, that trust, is only going to be more important as we move from the infectious to the behavioural model of disease. Bacteria may not care so much about trust and intimacy, but for people to tackle the hard lifestyle choices, to address issues like smoking cessation, blood-pressure management and diabetes control, well, that requires us to establish trust. …

… I leave you today with a final thought. Being totally transparent is scary. You feel naked, exposed and vulnerable, but that vulnerability, that humility, it can be an extraordinary benefit to the practice of medicine. When doctors are willing to step off our pedestals, take off our white coats, and show our patients who we are and what medicine is all about, that’s when we begin to overcome the sickness of fear. That’s when we establish trust. That’s when we change the paradigm of medicine from one of secrecy and hiding to one that is fully open and engaged for our patients.

Dr Leana Wen

Thanks to Dr Leana Wen and TEDMED.

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