Seeing a doctor is essential if you want to keep yourself healthy. However, when visiting a doctor, you can only get the desired medical advice if you ask questions and express concerns honestly. Asking questions about your condition and the treatment your doctor has prescribed for you can help you get an idea about your health.
On the other hand, there is always more than one treatment for an illness, so make sure you ask about the alternatives to learn about the possible treatment. This way, you will get better medical advice from doctors. But that’s not it! The following are some tips to help you become a better patient and get better medical advice from your doctor.
Be a good patient
Patients should strive to be knowledgeable about their own health issues. The most effective way to do this is by establishing a good relationship with their primary care provider. Here’s how you can be a good patient:
Trust your Primary Care Physician (PCP)
Your PCP is your best resource for medical advice, so make sure you trust them. To ensure you’re getting the best care, go in for your annual checkup and communicate with staff before your appointment. If you have any queries, ask them to have a clear idea about your health.
Be faithful to only one doctor
Research shows that patients who frequently switch doctors experience more health problems and spend more money than patients who stick with one doctor. Being respectful to your physician is the second-best way to receive better medical advice from your doctor. More than 60% of physicians surveyed said this would improve their patients’ care.
Asking questions is a great way to get clarity about the medicines you take and your health progress. Here is how asking questions can help you:
Know what’s best for you
Asking questions when getting a new prescription from your healthcare provider is a must. Do not blindly take what they tell you; ask about the medication and its possible side effects. This way, you and your healthcare provider will both know what is best for you. Whether you want to take a medicine for diabetes or an antibiotic for a urinary tract infection, ask questions to receive the best possible advice.
Bring with you a knowledgeable companion
It is a good idea to bring along a trusted advocate when seeing a doctor. Most doctors don’t want to hear what you have to say because they presume you already know what you need. Questioning the doctor demonstrates that you are interested in their knowledge and that you are an informed patient. It is not uncommon to feel awkward when asking a question. This is where your advocate may assist you by conveying what prescriptions you are taking, how long you’ve been taking them, and any other details you are hesitant to ask.
Prepare a list of questions
It is helpful to have a specific list of questions before a doctor’s appointment. Specific questions for conditions like diabetes, cancer, or rheumatoid arthritis can help you understand your doctor’s advice. When it comes to the types of medicines you’ll need, the pharmacist can help you know what’s best for you. If you’re unsure of the right questions to ask, you can use a Question Builder before your appointment.
Be a good listener
You may not realize it, but being a good listener is a skill you can develop. It takes hard work, concentration, and practice. Unfortunately, a lot of us are not good listeners. Here are some tips that will help you be a better listener when it comes to conversations with your physician and will go a long way in improving the quality of your medical advice.
Benefits for doctors
Listening is a skill that can improve your ability to diagnose problems and provide treatment. Good doctors are skilled listeners and are adept at assessing psychosocial factors. By practising proper listening skills, you will also be able to avoid lawsuits. As a doctor you should pay attention to your patient’s history. You can take patient surveys, if possible, to get feedback about your care. Repeat what your patients have discussed with you to ensure that the patient is completely understood.
Essentials for patients
If your physician doesn’t understand your lifestyle, they will not be able to give you accurate medical advice. By paying attention to your story, your physician will be able to pick up on any clues you may have that lead to better treatment.
Find a good advocate
A good advocate can help you make sense of what your doctor is trying to tell you. As an older adult, you may have more questions about your medical condition than you. In addition to knowing your medical history, your advocate should be familiar with your insurance and current medication. It is also helpful to have someone you can trust to vouch for your symptoms and needs. If you feel uncomfortable with the doctor’s information, bring a trusted friend or family member along for support.
If you have a disability, ask your doctor if they are willing to become your advocate. This person can help you understand all the options and help you navigate your healthcare. They can also translate medical terms for you and help you make sense of them.
An advocate can be an invaluable asset for you and your doctor – they will help you understand your options and get better health care. But the additional benefit that you’ll also get is that your advocate can also help you with billing issues.
Schedule appointments in advance
Depending on how busy the doctor’s practice is, they may be too busy to accept same-day appointments. The key to getting better medical advice from your doctor is to schedule your appointment as far in advance as possible. Even if it’s just a 15-minute appointment, you’ll still want to arrive at least fifteen minutes early. This will allow you to explain why you need to be seen immediately and avoid a long wait.
If you’re concerned about a health issue, you can bring a friend to discuss the results. The friend’s presence will help you understand what the doctor is saying. Older patients may have difficulty hearing and remembering things. If possible, take notes during your appointment. You can follow up on screening test results later. Or you can use patient portals to update your list of medications, vitamins, and nutritional supplements.
Work with your doctor
Doctors are trained to provide optimal medical advice. However, doctors cannot always stay updated on the latest advances in medical science and practice. That’s why you must share your concerns with your physician. Let your doctor know if you’re concerned about side effects or if you’d like to use alternative medicine instead of drugs. You may even want to tell your doctor about your cultural beliefs so that he can consider them when providing you with advice.
Set an agenda for the visit
It’s helpful to make a list of questions in advance and ask your doctor to prioritize them. Be sure to repeat what you’ve heard to ensure you’ve not forgotten anything. Keeping an agenda will ensure that you both feel comfortable discussing your health. And remember, you can achieve good communication with focused attention to help you get the medical advice you need.
Communicate your history
Doctors often don’t have time to listen to detailed information about your history. But if you’re able to write down your medical history, you’ll be able to give your doctor a more thorough diagnosis. Tell your doctor about any previous illnesses you’ve had and your recent recovery. Also, share information about your medications. If your doctor doesn’t know the details, your doctor might not know how to treat you.