Have you ever gone to see your health care provider and walked out of the office wondering “What just happened to me?” You are not alone. You walk in with 5 things on your mind that you would like to get some answers to and walk out with a prescription and more questions than answers. How did that happen?
Here’s the inside scoop.
Most of the time your healthcare provider has about 15 minutes to listen to your concerns, do a physical exam, answer your questions, and provide prescriptions if needed. That does not allow time for you to gather your thoughts and ask the questions that are most pertinent to you at the time. You both have agendas and 9 times out of 10 if you are not prepared before the visit your agenda takes a back seat. Here are some tips for having a more successful encounter with your healthcare provider.
As the patient, you should come prepared with a list of questions and concerns with the most pressing being at the top of your list. You may not get to all the items on your list, but at least you can address those that are most important.
Never be afraid to ask
If there are medications being prescribed or tests being ordered ask the reason for them. What is your provider looking for? If you saw an interesting medication advertisement on TV or a friend told you about something that they are taking that works for them—it's okay to ask your HCP about it.
Be your own advocate
In most cases, you are paying for your healthcare, and it is important to get the most out of the experience.
Be involved and proactive about your health. Engage your provider in conversations about your diabetes, your medications, any referrals you may need, etc.
A good patient-provider relationship can often mean the difference between you attending your next visit and waiting until things are unbearable before going back to see your HCP.
Decide when it's time for a change
If your healthcare professional is rude, impatient, condescending, or generally appears not to be interested in your health—it is time to find a new provider.
You should be comfortable sharing your concerns with your provider and trusting that they are listening to you and have your best interest at heart. If they don't, they are probably not the right one.
Remember, your health care is a partnership between you and your healthcare provider. You both play an active role.