It helps if doctors set good examples
A new study in the Canadian Medical Association Journal gives new credence to the maxim “Practice what you preach.” According to the research done at the University of British Columbia, patients are more likely to follow recommended screening and preventive care guidelines when their doctor does the same.
For the study, researchers analyzed the vaccination and screening habits of 1,488 doctors and 1.9 million patients in Israel. They found that the doctors who followed basic preventive health and screening practices, such as getting a flu shot or a mammogram, had patients that were more likely to follow suit. For example, 49 percent of patients of doctors who received a flu shot also received a flu shot, compared to only 43 percent of patients whose doctors did not receive a flu shot.
The study highlights the fact that doctors are often seen as health role models to their patients and have a significant impact on their patients’ health decisions and practices.