Oh, Come On!

Isn’t there anything better to do with research money? I have a rejected NSF proposal that could do better.

Their paper, published yesterday in The Archives of Internal Medicine, involved 100 primary-care doctors in the Rochester area. As part of a study on patient care and outcomes, the doctors agreed to allow two people trained to act as patients come to their offices sometime over the course of a year. The test patients would surreptitiously make an audio recording of the encounter. The investigators analyzed recordings of 113 of those office visits, excluding situations when the doctors figured out that the patient was fake.

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.

First, anyone who has hung around doctors is not surprised that they talk about themselves all the time. I don’t think you can be a doctor without having an ego – it comes with the whole “saving people’s lives” thing.

Second . . . come the fuck on! Are Doctor unique in this? I live in Texas and practically can’t drive through a damned McDonald’s without hearing the cashier’s life story. Professional people chat with customers. That’s the way the world works.

Jesus Christ. We needed a group of researchers to figure out, after a year of study, that doctors are chatty? Stand by for new studies showing that plumbers often unveil their butt crack and waiters occasionally hit on customers (and vice-versa).

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