Trust and communication are the cornerstones of your relationship with your healthcare team, which can include your primary doctor, as well as nurses, pharmacists, and other health professionals. Since the very reason you are meeting with your provider has to do with your health, it is normal to feel quite anxious and stressed. The following tips hopefully can take some of the edge out and ensure that your visit is productive and beneficial.
Prepare For Your Visits
Keep in mind that your healthcare providers often need to see multiple patients throughout the course of a day, and have a finite amount of time allocated for each patient. To get the most out of your visit, be prepared beforehand with a list of questions and issues that you would like to cover during your consultation. Remember to organize your list in order of priority, focusing on the top two or three issues you would like to address. Bring a pen or anything to write with on your appointment so you can take notes.
Organize Your Records
Information such as your symptoms and current medication is critical for your healthcare professional to be able to competently diagnose your condition and create a treatment plan. Keeping a list of medications you are taking, a description of recent symptoms and the dates they occurred, copies of tests and the contact information of the rest of your healthcare team will go a long way to ensure you receive optimal care.
Your list of medications, for example, is extremely important as your primary physician needs to be aware of any potential adverse reactions your treatments and supplements may have with each other.
Be prepared to answer questions about your lifestyle, such as the food that you eat, the amount of exercise you get, your alcohol and tobacco habits, etc. While these questions may be uncomfortable or downright guilt-inducing for some, remember that your doctor is not the enemy. Giving your honest and accurate information helps them make better decisions about what type of treatment plan works best for your personal needs.
Remember that your health is at stake. Ask additional questions. If your questions are not answered to your utmost satisfaction, consider setting a follow-up appointment or asking for a second opinion. Don’t be afraid to seek clarification for anything that you don’t understand. Clarify treatment plans, and make sure you understand any potential side effects of any medications prescribed.
Involve Your Family
Your family is perhaps the most important part of your healthcare team. Don’t be afraid or embarrassed to seek help and support from family members. When possible, take family members with you during consultations. They may be able to provide additional insight or ask questions that you might not have considered.
Keep In Touch
Find out how to best maintain contact with your healthcare provider in between visits. Keep emergency numbers at hand and make sure these are accessible by family members as well.
Your medical team is there to ensure that you receive the best treatment that will bring you back to optimal health. Talk to them and cooperate because proper communication can truly get you a long way.