Book Review: Diagnose Yourself by Reid Jenner

Do you feel like you have a communication problem with your physician? Well you do. This book will give you the tools to speak to your doc in a way that they will pay attention and really help you.

Diagnose yourself

I was a standardized patient for the University of Ottawa Medical School for a few years. The role of a standardized patient is to act out an assigned set of symptoms when the student physician “examines” you. The student must correctly identify and prescribe treatment for the presentation of these symptoms. In this idealized situation, the student is given 10 minutes to accomplish this task.

As a result of this training, physicians continue to believe that they must execute their jobs in 10 minute sessions with patients. Patients in the real world do not display idealized symptoms and do not describe their ailments in the construct of the standardized patient. Yet docs continue to believe that they can effectively treat you in this way.

Let’s face it – you are not going to change how the medical system approaches your case. You want immediate answers. To get those answers, you can change the way you talk to your physician. Talk as they were trained. In doing so, you will get a more favorable ear and hopefully a real resolution to your ailment.

Diagnose Yourself teaches you exactly how to talk to doctors so they will listen. It guides you through a thinking process to glean the relevant facts about your case. You can do some preliminary problem solving by eliminating the least likely causes. If you diligently work through the list at the end of the book, you will have a concise and precise description of your ailment.

I was finishing this book while waiting for my physician. From his point of view, it is not so much that he is trying to meeting the 10 minute training that was drummed into him. He is aware that the waiting room is full of patients and he is trying to help them all as quickly as he can.

I asked my doc what he though of the approach. He confirmed that it followed the problem solving process that he was taught. Furthermore, he intimated that it would be very helpful to have patients follow this process because then he would quickly get relevant facts to treat them properly.

There you have it folks. Diagnose Yourself will allow you to talk to your doc the way they can fully understand. It will empower you to have a fruitful discussion about your ailment and proper treatment regimes. The book is about a process of thinking. It is not full of medical terms and is therefore easy to read. I highly recommend you read this book!


One comment

  1. […] Diagnose Yourself by Reid Jenner- is a must have for my reading list!! The goal is to get you (the patient) to learn how to start engaging with doctors better. Half the time we never tell them whats really going on with us, because we are intimidated or feel rushed by the doctors. I am a HUGE advocate of diagnosing yourself, because only you know exactly how you feel. Check out more here  […]


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