Seek doctors for checkups, not neighbourly tips: Dr Abhra Mondal

Dr Abhra Mondal, BDS, is an affiliate member of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons, Glasgow. As a Visiting Consultant, Dr Mondal has extensive academic and practical expertise in treating conditions related to oral, dental, and periodontal tissues. Additionally, he has a substantial work history in assisting in Maxillofacial Surgeries, particularly in Trauma and Onco-Surgery cases. Dr Mondal has worked in State Government, Central Government, and Corporate/Private Sector Hospitals. Currently, he is an In-House Consultant at Techno India DAMA Healthcare Hospitals and a visiting Consultant at DESUN Hospitals & Apollo Multi-specialty Clinics.

When a patient explains to you about their health problems, what are the most common mistakes they make in their communication?

 In my daily clinical practice, I regularly encounter three distinct types of patients. The first group consists of individuals experiencing unbearable pain and are on the brink of a crisis. They struggle to pinpoint the exact location of the pain and often indicate a general area of discomfort. The second group comprises patients with a history of pain that they’ve neglected due to time constraints. These individuals have difficulty accurately identifying the specific body area where they previously experienced discomfort. The third group consists of overly conscious patients who provide inaccurate or misleading medical histories, leading to confusion rather than facilitating a solution. In summary, all three types of patients face challenges in effectively expressing their health issues, making diagnosis and treatment more complex.

What does health literacy mean to you, and why is it important in patient care?

Health literacy is an integral part of the ecosystem of the Healthcare Delivery System. It correctly teaches and orients all the patients and their family members to correctly state their presenting chief complaints and the associated history of their occurrence. Correct Communication leads to less confusion and better diagnoses.

If a patient is knowledgeable about the basics of their health condition, how helpful is it for the overall treatment procedure?

When a patient possesses sufficient knowledge, it significantly reduces the treating physician’s workload by approximately 50% both before and after implementing the treatment protocol. Moreover, such informed patients tend to exhibit a higher acceptance rate for the recommended course of treatment.

How much can medical misinformation impact treatment procedures?

Medical misinformation can disrupt the treatment process by fostering non-acceptance or confusion regarding the recommended treatment protocol. Engaging in multiple myth-buster Q&A sessions with your doctor may result in a waste of both your and the healthcare professional’s valuable time.

What are the most common myths or misinformation you see your patients falling prey to?

Common misconceptions and misinformation often circulate, such as the unfounded belief that procedures like scaling lead to enamel erosion and gum loosening.

What is your most common advice to patients to stay away from health misinformation online?

I frequently advise my patients with a simple analogy: when faced with a broken bulb, you call an electrician; for a leaking pipe, you reach out to a plumber; and for legal or lawsuit issues, you consult a lawyer. Similarly, when it comes to health concerns, why opt for advice from peers, neighbours, alternative internet methods, or personal innovations before seeking a doctor’s expertise? Waiting until the last possible stage can significantly hinder the recovery process.

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