If you’d told me that alone I would have figured that they were just trying to put their patients at ease and get through the day pleasantly. However, the research shows that the chatty doctors are not very focused on their patients.
To their surprise, the researchers discovered that doctors talked about themselves in a third of the audio recordings and that there was no evidence that any of the doctors’ disclosures about themselves helped patients or established rapport.
It paints a picture of self-absorbed doctors yammering on all day about themselves, trapped in some sort of disassociated fugue. Is that an overstatement? Not according to the researchers’s assessments of some of the interactions:
“We found that the longer the disclosures went on, the less functional they were,” Dr. Beckman said. “Then the patient ends up having to take care of the doctor and then the question is who should be paying whom.”
The researchers studied the conversations looking for any hint that patients were helped when the doctors talked about themselves.
“We looked for any statement of comfort, any statement of appreciation, any deepening of the conversation,” Dr. Beckman said.
They found none.
Perhaps this is something to keep in mind when evaluating your doctor. I can’t remember this happening to me (at least, not with my current doctors). I have had dentists and hygienists who had this tendency, but luckily, none of our doctors. And especially our children’s specialists have always spent extended amounts of time talking to us, always about our concerns.
If you know more about your doctor than your mailman, maybe it’s time to think about getting another doctor.