How to Talk to Your Doctor
Over the past couple of years I’ve had to spend more time talking with doctors than I would like. Thankfully none of the discussions have been about any life threatening conditions but they do affect quality of life.
With the growing changes in healthcare more of the burden for the kind of care you receive is in your hands as much as your healthcare provider.
Here are some tips to help you and your doctor determine the best course of action for what ails you.
Tips for Talking with your Doctor
- Make a list of Questions: You may have many questions for your doctor so it’s a real time saver to write them down so you don’t forget any. Be brief but thorough.
- Bring Someone With You: My wife and I go to each other’s appointments. That way there is no need to “recap” what was said during the appointment and any additional questions can be fully answered.
- Be Honest: Your health is critical. This is no time to be embarrassed about any condition or symptoms you might be experiencing. The doctor is not going to judge you or your condition. He or she wants the problem solved as much as you do. Don’t hold anything back that the doctor should know.
- Be Brief: The doctor just needs to know you tripped and fell. Not how many cracks were in the sidewalk and that the city should do something about it. The more time you waste with a convoluted story the slower your problem will be solved.
- A List of All Medications: My wife and I carry a list of all medications and supplements we both take on a regular basis. These are things your doctor needs to know so that additional prescriptions won’t react with medications you are currently taking.
- Have You Seen Another Provider? If you’ve seen a specialist or other healthcare provider make sure your primary physician has copies of those visits in your current file.
- Other Records: Make sure your medical and insurance cards are up to date as well as your work insurance. If you have changed plans or made changes to your Medicare or Supplemental plans let your doctor’s office know.
Some Final Thoughts
Your doctor is a businessperson who is running a business. In order for he or she to keep seeing you they have to be profitable.
You can help them and yourself by making each visit to your physician a prepared visit. This is the one single thing we can all do to reduce the time of the visit without sacrificing quality of care. It will also help hold healthcare costs down.