- Heather Schultz
Empowered Patients Have Better Outcomes-Part 2
Empowered patients find the right doctor for them.
“The relationship you have with your healthcare team is an important one, so invest in it.”
People probably spend more time selecting a car than they do a physician. As with any relationship the most important thing is open and honest communication and mutual respect. The relationship you have with your healthcare team is an important one, so invest in it. It should be a team effort where decisions are made together. This is your body; this is your life. Trust your gut. If you don’t get a good feeling from your healthcare professional or feel as if your questions and concerns are not being addressed, don’t be afraid to keep searching. You are in the driver’s seat and have the right to find a different doctor who will engage in a partnership with you. Empowered patients are more likely to follow a healthy lifestyle because they feel like active participants in their health decisions. Surveys show that 75% of patients want a more personalized relationship with their providers. Find a doctor who is a good fit for you.
Make a list of qualities that you are looking for in your doctor. Do you prefer a man or a woman? What are their hours of operation? Will language be an obstacle to communication? Office location. Do you prefer a doctor who has an individual practice or one who is part of a group so you can see a partner if your doctor is not available? Does it matter which hospital the doctor admits patients to?
Seek recommendations. This is a must for me. Ask family, friends, medical specialists, and other health professionals for the names of doctors with whom they have had good experiences. A doctor whose name comes up often may be a strong possibility. Don’t rely solely on online reviews. They don’t always paint the whole picture. This past year I wrote a very factual review and it was denied for posting because it was considered, “unfavorable.” Seeking a board-certified doctor is a recommendation within itself. Doctors who are board-certified have extra training after regular medical school. They also have passed an exam certifying their expertise in specialty areas.
Schedule an appointment. Treat this as a trial run from the moment you call to make an appointment. Pay attention to the office staff—you will have to communicate with them often. After the appointment, ask yourself if this doctor is a person with whom you could work well. Did you feel comfortable? If you are not satisfied, keep searching for the right fit. Don’t settle on this important relationship.
Active patients go for a win-win.
“Without your health, it may be very difficult to do all the things you want to do.”
Hands up for health! You are the one who can make the biggest impact on your own health. To maintain or improve your health you must be intentional, informed, and involved. Your health is your number one asset in life. Brick by brick, it is the foundation upon which you build your life. Without your health, it may be very difficult to do all the things you want to do and to enjoy life to the fullest. Whatever your goals, passions, dreams, or aspirations may be, you will need your good health to achieve them.
”Help me...help you.” That famous line from the movie Jerry Mcguire is great advice when it comes to your next doctor’s appointment. Do your part to work with your doctor to build this health partnership and make it a win-win. Take to heart the following tips to help you be prepared for your next doctor visit.
Take your time completing the medical history form. Be honest. Don’t rush it. In this case, more is better. Complete care starts before you ever speak with the doctor. Studies show that 85 to 95 percent of diagnoses can be made by the medical history alone.
Keep a list of all your symptoms, questions, and things you want to discuss with your doctor. You may think you can remember everything, but this rarely happens.
Keep a list of your past medical history, past surgical history, and allergy list.
Record your family medical history.
Make a list of all the medications you take. Include the name of each drug, the dosage you're taking, and the number of times a day you take it. That includes multivitamins, herbal remedies, and over-the-counter drugs.
Make sure your primary care provider and specialists are in communication. Hand-deliver your medical records to each office.
If your provider offers a patient portal, take advantage of this fantastic tool. This is a secured site that allows you to view your medical records including doctor notes, lab results, and future appointments. You can even print this information.
At some point in their life, everyone will see a doctor. How successful that partnership is depends a great deal on your willingness to foster collaboration and remain engaged. Doctors are fallible: just like the rest of us. Their ability to deliver quality care is often the result of how much you care.
Board Certified? The American Board of Medical Specialties has a database https://www.certificationmatters.org/ of all board-certified physicians that is updated daily. You can also call toll-free to verify a doctor’s certification at 1-866-275-2267. Board certification is one way to learn about a doctor’s medical