How Satisfied are IBS Patients with their Physician Visits?

By Charles Gerson, M.D.

A recent research article described a new questionnaire designed to measure the level of IBS patient satisfaction with visits to their physician. What was the main reason for patient dissatisfaction? A feeling that their physician was not connected to them. What did they feel was missing that prevented a feeling of connection? There were four reasons. First, they were not asked about their emotional state, difficulties in their daily life, or support systems. Second, they did not feel that there was enough empathy for their illness. Third, they missed the old-fashioned bed-side manner. And finally, the physician did not talk to them in a way that could be easily understood.

The second most important reason for dissatisfaction was a lack of sufficient education. Patients wanted more and clearer explanations of their symptoms and more information about IBS. At the MBDC, we have reported that IBS is often surrounded by a sense of mystery, with adverse effects on symptom severity. Discussion and explanation of IBS by a physician requires an understanding that IBS is a real illness, regardless of normal tests, and that physical and psychological factors may be interacting with each other, but neither is solely responsible for symptoms. Medical education does not do a good job of teaching these concepts.

What is unique about this study is its emphasis on the patient experience. Hopefully if patients have more insight into what they want when they visit their physician, and if physicians are more aware of these points of dissatisfaction, patients will be the beneficiaries.

You can read our review of the recent article mentioned above here.