Middle Articles

Difference Between Patients' and Doctors' Interpretation of Some Common Medical Terms

Br Med J 1970; 2 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.2.5704.286 (Published 02 May 1970) Cite this as: Br Med J 1970;2:286
  1. Charles Murray Boyle


    Multiple-choice questionaries completed by 234 outpatients were compared with those completed by 35 doctors to evaluate differences between their interpretation of some commonly used medical terms. There were significant differences between the “majority doctors' definition” and the number of patients agreeing with that definition in all cases except the term “a good appetite.” It is suggested that unless the patient is cross-examined recording of symptoms—particularly in computer studies—may be unreliable.

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