Do you ever leave your doctor’s office with a ton of remaining questions and feeling like your appointment was a whirlwind with no clear course of treatment? If you do, you’re not alone. You may feel more satisfied and even have better health outcomes if you improve your relationship with your doctor. We’re helping you get started with the tips below.
Prepare for your appointment. Take time in advance to write down your symptoms and how long you have been experiencing them. Record everything that you think may be related including a change in diet, exercise, sleep patterns and stressors. Prioritize your list so you can discuss the most important concerns first. If necessary, you can hand your list to the doctor so they can call or email you later to finish addressing your points. Also, be sure to let your doctor know of all medications you are taking (some of which may have been prescribed by a different doctor), including over-the-counter meds and whether you have recently seen another doctor.
Communicate efficiently with your doctor. Make your bottom-line point first. If you are seeking medication to help with a physical or emotional problem, state that first and then back it up with your reasoning. Or, express your concern first before describing your symptoms. The anxiety of not feeling well is often what we want to relieve as much as the ailment itself. Your doctor may be able to calm your fears or recommend additional tests to rule out your major underlying concerns.
Take notes during your appointment. Your mind may be going in a million directions as you chat with your physician. Focus yourself by writing down the key points that your doctor is making. If you are worried you’ll miss something, record the visit or bring along someone to simply take notes on your behalf.
Make sure you understand the action plan moving forward. One of the biggest complaints from patients is that they are unclear on their next steps. Ask specific questions such as, “If the results of my blood work is normal but I still feel badly, what is the next step?” or “At what point should I call or come back if I’m still feeling poorly?” Write down the order of which your heath action plan will take place and any potential doctors your primary care physician may want you to see. Even if you don’t immediately feel better, having a plan can be comforting so you know your doctor is still going to help you solve your health mystery.
Be honest with your doctor. Yes, sometimes we are embarrassed by our own health problems, but doctors are there to help you. They cannot do their jobs if you aren’t being completely honest with them. Even a slight oversight can make the difference in their recommended treatment plan. Don’t omit or misrepresent information about your health.
Follow your physician’s recommendations. You cannot really know if your doctor is doing a good job if you never take his advice. That’s just being a bad patient and definitely not helping you improve your relationship with your doctor. Try whatever your doctor suggests and if you find it doesn’t work for you, contact him for other solutions. Your doctor will be more willing to help you if you have at least given his first recommendation a shot.
If you are displeased with your doctor, let him know. If you feel your needs aren’t being met, let your doctor know so he can improve your care. He may not realize that his behavior or that of his staff is causing you distress. If he is unwilling to help you further after you express your concerns, you may want to find another doctor that is more attentive to your particular needs.