Patients used to be led by doctors, but now taking initiative and being prepared is essential to a collaborative patient-doctor partnership. Although discussing sensitive topics can be difficult, the relationship you have with your doctor is one of the most important aspects of receiving good health care. It is also helpful for you to take an active role in the development & ownership of your Care Plan. Below are a few easy steps in developing a plan to make the most of your next visit with your doctor.
What to prepare before meeting with your doctor:
- 1. A list of your symptoms – write them down as you experience them and be specific
- 2. Your medications – this includes any prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, herbal remedies, supplements, laxatives, and eye drops.
- 3. List of habits or life changes – such as use of assistive devices like canes, walkers or scooters.
Use your time wisely:
- 1. Rank your list of concerns and questions by importance – talk about and rank your top three or four concerns or questions first.
- 2. Be honest with your doctor – avoid telling your doctor exactly what they want to hear and don’t be afraid to tell the truth even if it’s embarrassing.
- 3. Give information, don’t wait to be asked. You know the important things about your symptoms and your health history, so be honest and tell you doctor what he/she needs to know, even if they don’t ask.
- 4. Don’t be afraid to ask your doctor questions. When you don’t know the meaning of a word, or can’t read your doctors handwriting, ask them to be more clear and concise.
- 5. Remember to follow up with questions, concerns test results or follow up appointments.
Research has shown that patients who develop good relationships with their doctors and take an active role in their “self-care,” are more satisfied with their overall care and the results. Working as a team with your doctor could lead to diagnosing ailments faster, regaining strength sooner, and being healthier overall.