Medical Literacy Research

Funny how some things can take large parts of your time, but you never deem them interesting enough to share with friends.

But in order to give our "real" friends a chance to "really" know what's going on in our lives, I (Eric) will mention my research planning. I'm not by nature or desire a researcher, but every resident in our program has to do a senior project of some kind, and a couple years ago I got fascinated in one particular question in the field of medical literacy. "Do patient's understand medical jargon?" Even more interestingly, "Do physicians know what medical words the general public understands?" My theory is that docs are so far within their realm of work that they don't even know what they knew before they entered medicine, and thus simply telling them "You should avoid medical jargon in talking to patients" is a lost cause, since they don't know what that is.

So I've developed a survey (i.e. quiz) that will be distributed to patients and to physicians, with a goal of then comparing the actual patient responses to physician estimates of how they would do. All of this, of course, if I can get my project approved by the IRB. I don't really feel that I'm posing much risk to my patients with this survey, but we can never be too sure...

Click here for the questions, and test your own jargon knowledge!


Anonymous said...

I remember interpreting for a doctor and person who is deaf in an emergency room. The doctor kept refering to the "attending physicain". What in the world, I couldn't figure that out and had to ask Eric. When he told me the supervising Physician, I thought why not just say that, life would be much simpler. Now I know.