Childhood emergencies

May 2010

Professional

Two HEADSSS are better than one

A biopsychosocial screening tool for use when treating other doctors

Volume 39, No.5, May 2010 Pages 329-331

Hilton Koppe

Background

This is the fourth article in a series exploring issues involved in treating other doctors. The first article discussed potential barriers faced by doctors when seeking medical care for themselves. The second article looked at strategies for minimising these barriers before the consultation takes place, and the third explored strategies for use during a consultation when the patient is another doctor.

Objective/s

In this article, a model for a biopsychosocial screening tool for use as a prompt when treating other doctors is discussed.

Discussion

Many of the challenges involved in doctors treating other doctors revolve around communication, not only what is said, but also what remains unsaid. It can be tempting for the treating doctor to collude with the patient doctor resulting in less than ideal medical care. Use of a biopsychosocial screening tool and normalising the process of asking questions on potentially sensitive topics can reduce the risk of collusion.

As discussed in previous articles, there are many challenges involved doctors in treating other doctors. Many of these challenges revolve around communication, not only what is said, but also what remains unsaid. It can be tempting for the treating doctor to collude with the patient doctor resulting in less than ideal medical care. Examples of such collusion are outlined in Table 1.

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Correspondence afp@racgp.org.au

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