How to Manage Patients Who Self-Diagnose

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Self-diagnosis is a process by a patient to identify a medical condition without seeking medical help from a professional. The diagnosis could be from the knowledge that a person learns by reading medical resources on the internet, books, dictionaries or past personal experience. Other diagnose by identifying similarities in symptoms and medical signs to those in family members or friends who are suffering from a condition.

Nurses should accept that self-diagnosis is now a reality in the medical field. The most challenging aspect of managing patients who self-diagnose is to establish trust and a rapport. It is clear that such patients have meaningful information about infections that they learn from discussions with other people, the internet or publications. It is essential to develop strategies that simplify the management of a patient who self-diagnose if you are a nurse or healthcare provider.

Tips To Manage Patients Who Self-Diagnose

1.Acknowledge the efforts by the patients

The first step is to make the patients who self-diagnose to feel that you appreciate their knowledge. Healthcare providers should get into the shoes of such patients to better understand what they are going through and to determine the better solution. Patients feel that someone is giving them the importance and validates their effort by acknowledging the trouble they took to research on their symptoms to the point of achieving a diagnosis.

2.Strike a friendly conversation

Communication is essential for an excellent healthcare provider-patient relationship. It is vital to approach the situation delicately even if a patient diagnosis is inaccurate. Start by acknowledging the valiant effort in an attempt to diagnose, articulate the correct diagnosis and demonstrate the common understanding. Explain the concept of differential diagnosis that occurs when different illnesses or injuries are present and show similar symptoms if applicable. A friendly approach recognizes the effort of a patient is self-diagnosing but corrects the wrongs without arrogance or belittling the person. This method of dealing with a patient does not entirely discredit the self-diagnosis but states the similarity of symptoms between the wrong self-diagnosis and the correct diagnosis. Approaching the situation with an understanding enables a healthcare provider to develop trust and better rapport with a patient.

3.Encourage verbalization of the feelings

Patients tend to listen to, and trust medical staff who encourage a verbalization of their feelings and listen to them .It also helps to establish a rapport that makes a patient reveal information concerning self – a diagnosis which is helpful in narrowing down to a better potential diagnosis.

4.Build on the shared information

The information by a patient provides an excellent opportunity to find something relevant from their symptoms if you can take time to achieve a good grasp of the things that a patient believes and understands. It is best to build on the information that patients share when it possible to add on to what you know about the symptoms and correct diagnoses.

5.Suggest extra resources to guide the patients

Providing additional information increases knowledge by the patients and might guide them to correct some false assumptions. Health experts should advise the patients to find information from websites and other resources affiliated to healthcare institutions and medical centers to access more accurate facts on self-diagnosis. Data from such locations has undergone a thorough examination before publishing to ensure that they carry the most accurate and up-to-date information. It is vital to inform the patients that they should avoid sites that have excess adverts because the writers may have edited the information to meet requirements that favor the advertisers.

6.Educate the patients about dangers of self-diagnosis

More people are spending time on the internet finding information about medical conditions and some might assume that they are masters of their health. Healthcare providers must diagnose, treat and also educate the patients to prevent mistakes in future. Healthcare providers must act as the patient's advocate after assessment and diagnosis. It makes it part of their duty to inform the patients about the pros and cons of a self-diagnosis.

If possible, you should provide visual aids for the patients to achieve a better understanding of the things that they might experience when something about their diagnosis goes wrong. Patients who get accurate information from their care providers will minimize reliance on the internet and other media for self-diagnosis.