Communicating effectively with your doctor is an important part of any doctor-patient relationship. All too often, patients feel intimidated by their doctors and are afraid to ask questions or second guess the advice that their doctors are giving them. However, when you consider that this is potentially one of the most important relationships in your life, it is certainly worth making an investment in its quality. As you consider your relationship with your doctor, ask yourself this question: "Who is in control?" If you feel that your doctor is the primary decision-maker when it comes to your health and your treatment, there may be an imbalance of power that needs to be equalized.
Knowledge is Power
One of the best ways that you can play a more active role in your relationship with your doctor is by educating yourself about your own condition. Do research about the condition in general, its causes, and possible treatment options. Next, schedule a consultation with your doctor and ask the following questions:
• How did you originally diagnose my condition?
• How severe is my condition?
• What are the chances that it will improve over time?
• What treatment options are you recommending and why?
• Is there a chance that I will ever require surgery?
• What more can I do to improve my condition?
As you speak with your doctor about your condition, make sure that he or she is listening to you attentively and making an effort to answer your questions in as much detail as possible. It may take some trial-and-error before you and your doctor establish an effective dialogue, but the important thing is that you are both making an effort. If at any point you feel that your doctor is not listening to you, is condescending to you, or is brushing off your questions, these should serve as indications that your doctor may not have your best interests at heart.
Organization is Key
A great way to make sure you communicate as effectively as possible with your doctor is to plan ahead and make lists of all the goals you want to accomplish during your next appointment. It can be stressful and overwhelming when you are actually in the office with your doctor, so having an outline of all the questions you want to ask can be extremely helpful. You may even want to bring a friend or family member for support. Points you may want to bring up to your doctor during any given visit include:
• Test results and diagnosis
• New symptoms
• Improved symptoms
• Efficacy of treatments
• Referral to a specialist
• New treatments
Combating the Jargon
Talking and communicating are not necessarily the same thing. Many times, doctors will use medical jargon when explaining things to their patients. While this is not necessarily done to confuse or evade the patient, it can have this effect. As soon as patients hear language that they do not understand, they tend to assume that they cannot and will not understand what is being said. On the contrary, this is simply an obstacle that needs to be overcome by both the doctor and the patient. The doctor is likely used to communicating quickly and efficiently with fellow doctors and his or her medical staff. Medical shorthand and jargon is likely the most effective way to do this, though doctors need to learn to switch communication modes when talking with their patients. If you do not understand the explanations that your doctor is giving, let them know. There is nothing shameful about wanting to gain a better understanding about your own health.
John Soland is an experienced writer who has written for a number of notable publications. As a lifestyle expert, Mr. Soland is able to offer advice and insight on a multitude of topics, including those pertaining to doctor/patient relations.
John Soland is an experienced writer who has written for a number of notable publications. As a lifestyle expert, Mr. Soland is able to offer advice and insight on a multitude of topics, including those pertaining to doctor/patient relations. http://www.lsiphysicianrelations.com/
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John Soland is an experienced writer who has written for a number of notable publications. As a lifestyle expert, Mr. Soland is able to offer advice and insight on a multitude of topics, including those pertaining to www.lsiphysicianrelations.com/" target="_blank">doctor/patient relations.
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