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Revealed: how doctors influence your treatment choices

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It’s sometimes never completely clear how your doctor decides on specific recommendations for your treatment. You may be suffering from the same condition as someone else, but both of you may end up with very different recommendations, from the same doctor! Ever wondered why this tends to be the case?

Many factors must be taken into account before treatment options are offered. Some factors may be obvious, but other factors may not necessarily be immediately apparent to you. The first consideration is whether your ailment is immediately life-threatening. What matters next is whether your condition is amenable to a cure, control of symptoms or just reassurance. Within an instant, an experienced doctor will then make specific decisions on what to recommend.

Your doctor will often consider what resources are available. Is the hospital well equipped to offer you the best of treatment options? Or is a compromise required? If a certain equipment or gadget is unavailable, then you will simply not be offered some treatment options. And you may never know. Or if a novel skill is locally unavailable, then you will have to do with what is prevailing. Unless you can make your way elsewhere.

Experience also comes in. Your doctor is unlikely to recommend any novel treatment options that they have no clue about. When such situations arise, you should always be referred to the most qualified doctor who can handle your case. But you may unknowingly get second best with a doctor who may be out of date, or one not too keen on referring you elsewhere.

What about cost? Is your doctor completely impartial on what it costs to treat you, or do they usually have a vested interest? Could personal gain influence what your doctor ends up recommending as the best treatment option? This question comes up time and again, the answer is both a yes and a no. Doctors must always take your best interests first, and recommend the most suitable treatment option. But some unscrupulous doctors may deliberately veer you towards treatment options that will reward them most. That however goes against medical ethics.

There are a thousand-fold factors that can influence what your doctor eventually recommends. Sometimes the equation goes against you in untold ways. Can you do anything about all this? Yes you can. You need to be well informed about what ails you, and what treatment choices are available. Don’t take anything for granted, or any recommendations as the only options open to you. Your doctor should openly share all medical decisions about your treatment with you. Ask questions, make sure you understand everything, and seek another opinion if unsatisfied. Being proactive in your own treatment will often get you onto the best treatment options, without undue influences or compromises.

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