Study of Awareness of Patients’ Rights among Undergraduate Medical Students JC01-JC04
Dr. Sumita Sethi,
Associate Professor, Department of Ophthalmology, BPS GMC for Women, Sonepat-131305, Haryana, India.
Introduction: Patients’ rights are those owed to the patient as a human being, by physicians and by the state. Patients’ rights are influenced by country related and social factors of the area and thus vary in different countries. Medical students have important roles in helping patients to understand their health care rights, contributing to a safe and high quality health care system.
Aim: To study the awareness of patients’ rights among under-graduate students in a government medical college. The goal was to sensitise the students about the importance of these rights in clinical practice and in research.
Materials and Methods: Based on literature search of previous research studies and guidelines by Medical Council of India, a pre-structured questionnaire with 12 questions about patients’ rights was developed. Students studying in first, second and third professionals were asked to respond to this questionnaire on a three-point Likert scale– agree, neither agree nor disagree and disagree. The analysis included frequency table, percentages and association of variables based on Chi-square test. Yates’ corrections were used for 2x2 contingency table or method pooling and Fisher exact test was used (for higher order than 2x2 table). All statistical tests were seen at two-tailed level of significance (p =0.01 and p=0.05).
Results: A total of 339(84.75%) out of 400 students participated; 337 (99.4%) of students agreed that health care is a right; the least agreed upon statement 277(81.7%) was that the patients has right to know about his doctor’s qualifications. The difference in the responses of the junior (first and second professional) and senior (final professional part I and II) students was found to be statistically significant in four statements; right to be told all the facts about his illness, right to agree or refuse to participate in research activities, right to address his grievances to respective medical councils courts, right towards his privacy while examination, irrespective of age and sex.
Conclusion: Students at our institute had a fair but not adequate understanding of patients’ rights; more of senior students in comparison to junior students were in disagreement to certain patients’ rights. Incorporating more information on patients’ rights in undergraduate curriculum would enhance the quality of medical graduation as it will help curb the unethical practices in our profession.