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Inside Health Care: Physicians Put on a Gown and the Power of Touch


When Dr. Herbert Mathewson visited the ER for back pain, he felt like he was in good hands, but was surprised that no one actually laid their hands on him. He says in Laying on of the Hands, As technology has advanced, objective test results have replaced many physical findings as the foundation of correct diagnosis. Instead, a doctor's job has largely become determining which tests to run. Dr. Mathewson still values what he was taught as a young med student'the power of 'laying on the hands as a means to develop a respectful relationship with the patient.

Dr. Kevin Pho of agrees with Dr. Mathewson. And he cites internist, Dr. Danielle Ofri's recent New York Times essay, Not on the Doctor's Checklist, but Touch Matters, adding that 'the benefits of touching the patient and listening to his heart and lungs cannot be quantitatively measured. Dr. Ofri says touch is 'humanizing' and 'a way to establish trust.

Primary care doctor, Rob Lamberts, shares his own patient experience this week on Musings of a Distractible Mind. After a physical exam, Dr. Lamberts admits not always being able to follow the health advice that he preaches to patients. In some ways it is harder to be a patient as a doctor, he says, 'So when I am tasked to become the patient, I have to put down defenses that have been constructed over decades. It's not easy, but I have to do this.

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Inside Health Care posts feature recent news and blog posts from the health care community and are part of the Center for Advancing Health’s portfolio of free, evidence-based coverage of what it takes to find good care and make the most of it.

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Medical/Hospital Practice   CFAH Staff   Find Good Health Care   Inside Healthcare  

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