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Podcast: The new & (un)improved doctor-patient relationship

Michael Joyce is a writer-producer with and tweets as @mlmjoyce

Maybe you’ve heard of — or experienced — some of these:

  • The average doctor-patient visit in the U.S. is down to about 15 minutes.
  • The time it takes for a doctor to interrupt a patient (after asking what’s wrong) is about 15 seconds.
  • The vast majority of patients sign consent forms they don’t understand.
  • Doctors ask patients if they’ve understood what’s just been discussed less than 2% of the time.

Call it a disconnect, call it inevitable, or even call it broken; suffice to say, the doctor-patient relationship has changed.

In this podcast we explore what’s changed and why it matters.

A phrase you’ll hear again and again when doctor-patient communication is discussed is “shared decision-making.” It’s something we’ve written about quite a bit.

Here’s more on the people you heard from in this podcast:

Carolyn Thomas

Her website, which has had more than 13 million views, is called It’s a unique resource for women with heart disease.

As is her book: A Woman’s Guide to Living with Heart Disease.

She’s also blogged specifically about the challenges of the doctor-patient relationship HERE.

Andy Lazris, MD

Dr. Lazris has two blogs and two books.

The Books: Curing Medicare. Also, Interpreting Health Risks & Benefits: A Practical Guide to Facilitating Doctor-Patient Communication.

The Blogs: Health Care of the Elderly & Medicare. Also, Shared Decision-Making and the Efficacy of Tests, Drugs, and Treatments.

Beth Abels, MD

I’ve interviewed Dr. Abels before, the last time being in July of 2016, just one month after California had passed the End of Life Option Act (their version of Oregon’s ‘Death with Dignity’ law).

Abels contributed to a podcast exploring whether the boom of Catholic-run hospitals on the West Coast was limiting health care options for patients in rural communities like hers.

Comments (2)

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Charles Carter

June 1, 2018 at 1:30 pm

Another home run from Health News Review!
As a practicing physician I appreciate the clinicians perspective on some of the barriers to informed consent. A good example is such is here- One can see that with all the time and the best will in the world true informed consent is very difficult. Real world situations however indicate more effort and time is needed.


Carolyn Thomas

June 5, 2018 at 12:43 am

Thanks so much Michael for including my thoughts in this compelling podcast. I especially appreciated listening to the perspectives of Drs. Abel and Lazris about such an important topic.
Well done…