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Many Doctors and Patients Perceive Gaps in Their Communications

  • Publication: 
    Publication Date: 
    Monday, January 31, 2011

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    Key Findings

    • Nearly all doctors say their patients sometimes or most times forget potentially important things they are told.
    • Substantial portions of both doctors and patients say key information is sometimes forgotten or lost in their interactions.
    • Nearly half of the public perceives that their ‘main doctor’ is the one who should keep their most accurate, complete health and medical records.
    • But 2 in 5 of both public and physician groups say it is the patient—not doctors—who should perform such a role.
    • 15 percent of the public perceives that no one is performing this role for them.


    • There are contrasting perceptions between the public and doctors about the frequency of potentially important information being lost in doctor-patient interactions.
    • 1 of 3 of the doctors say they sometimes forget or lose track of potentially important things their patients tell them.
    • Similar proportions of patients (40 percent) and doctors (38 percent) said patients themselves—not doctors—should be the ones who maintain the most accurate, complete records about themselves.
    • 15 percent of the public perceives that no one is performing the role of keeping the most accurate, complete version of health and medical records for them.