Both Patients and Doctors Tend to Be Creatures of Habit

Physicians can be reluctant to go against established grain

MONDAY, Oct. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Doctors often struggle with their patients' reluctance or inability to modify behaviors for the sake of their health, but physicians themselves are prone to stay the path they're on even if it isn't working or recommended, according to an opinion piece published Oct. 5 in The New York Times.

Danielle Ofri, M.D., of the New York School of Medicine in New York City, explored the observation that, although she and her colleagues in medicine typically agree with clinical practice guidelines, they often ignore good advice when it conflicts with long-held practice patterns.

For example, although one recommendation of the Society of General Internal Medicine's Choosing Wisely campaign is to forgo routine general health exams for asymptomatic adults based on scientific evidence, Ofri reflexively closes visits with healthy patients by saying, "I'll see you next year."

"Humans are creatures of habit. Our default is to continue on the path we've always trod," Ofri writes. "If we doctors can recognize that impulse in ourselves, it will give us a dose of empathy for our patients, who are struggling with the same challenges when it comes to changing behavior."

More Information

Physician’s Briefing Staff

Physician’s Briefing Staff

Published on October 07, 2013

Read this Next
About UsOur ProductsCustom SolutionsHow it’s SoldOur ResultsDeliveryContact UsBlogPrivacy PolicyFAQ