Personal Health

Dramatic consequences for patients: Doctors do not understand each other

The doctor’s letter from the hospital sent to the physician with clear information about his patients. Theoretically. In practice, many physicians complain of hard-to-understand formulations.

After a stay in hospital, you will understand when you look at their discharge papers only station? Since you are not alone. Even many doctors doctor of letters from the hospital, to inform you about the condition and treatment of their patients prepare, sometimes a headache. The dismissal letters are often unstructured, incorrect, vague or misleading and contain unknown or ambiguous abbreviations. This is the result of a survey from nationwide, 197 Doctors by language scientists from the Heinrich-Heine-University of Düsseldorf.

Accordingly, all of the respondents family physicians (98.5 percent) said almost, understand physician letters sometimes, right off the bat. And almost all of the respondents had ever receive papers with the wrong information. 88 percent were of the opinion that incomprehensible or incorrect medical reports can lead to treatment errors. Often the Doctors would have to follow up with the author again.

Documents should leave no room for interpretations

"In-house doctors do not have the time to read for hours doctor of letters. You need precise and clear Informationen", the Linguist and project Manager Sascha Bechmann says. "That such documents must be no room for interpretation, is obvious." Bechmann believed that often with text is being worked on blocks that are copied from a letter in the other. The study was conducted in collaboration with family doctors associations.

A sentence like "In severe Hyperhidrosis in the context of a non-lowerable hyperthermia, the Patient was closely bilanziert" is just one example of obscure sentence structures. The "upper left Extremität" quite simply, the left Arm describes, is another example. And the set "In state after dizziness with subsequent fall, a dizziness diagnosis durchgeführt&quot was; is completely illogical. Spelling and grammar errors are other points of criticism.

Three-quarters of family doctors evaluate therapy and taking recommendations as faulty

The house doctors complain but also content-related and technical errors, contradictions, clichés, and lack of information. About three-quarters of the respondents identified treatment recommendations and instructions for the use of medication after discharge from the hospital as frequent sources of error.

"That you don’t understand physician letters are always immediately shows the complexity of the Materie", Rudolf Henke, Chairman of the Marburger Bund, representing, among other things, the clinic doctors say. "That error can ever occur, belongs to every human work. To two weaknesses you have to work."

A big Problem is, when three quarters of the surveyed family doctors treatment recommendations, and taking instructions from the hospital rate is often as faulty. It urgently needs to be more direct communication between home and the hospital doctors organized, so Henke. "From the point of view of the Marburger Bund, it is also due to the scarce make plans in the hospital, if today not enough time is available."

"It is not dramatic, if Doctors verstehen&quot to each other;

Criticism of the doctor’s letters come from the German Foundation for patient protection. "It is not dramatic, if Doctors verstehen&quot this to each other;, the management Board Eugen Brysch said. "Is delivered to the Patient." Uniform Standards for dismissal letters had already prescribed. "Hand-written notes, technical internal terms or abbreviations have to look at these papers."

Doctor letters are time consuming – both for the authors as well as for the in-house doctors. On average, a doctor has to read daily three to ten letters, reports Bechmann. This could take up to an hour. Hospital-based physicians spend per day, even up to three hours Writing the letters. The recommendation of the researchers: The Writing structured and easy to understand doctor letters should be in medical school established.

The research project will continue with the evaluation of 200 doctor of letters from various departments of the University clinic Düsseldorf and will be extended to other clinics in Germany.