No one enjoys feeling unwell. If you are in pain or need treatment for a chronic condition, you want your doctor to provide exceptional care. Still, the care you receive likely depends on your ability to speak freely with your physician.
Unfortunately, doctors are not perfect. That is, they occasionally misdiagnose or mistreat medical conditions. Miscommunication is a primary reason medical errors occur. While you cannot guarantee your doctor listens to your concerns, you can take certain steps to improve communication. Here are four tips for talking to your doctor:
1. Schedule a morning appointment
Doctors can be extraordinarily busy. As the day goes on, many physicians try to work in last-minute appointments. As you may suspect, this approach may leave you with inadequate face-to-face time. By scheduling a morning appointment, you may be able to have a longer discussion with your physician.
2. Make notes before your appointment
With their stethoscopes, medical degrees and white coats, doctors can be intimidating. Put simply, you may forget to bring up healthcare concerns during your appointment. By making notes before seeing your healthcare provider, you ensure you have the opportunity to fully discuss your situation.
3. Check your embarrassment at the door
Medical conditions may not only be painful, but they can also be incredibly embarrassing. If you feel ashamed of your symptoms, behaviors or other health subjects, you may not be able to communicate effectively with your physician. Remember, though, because your doctor likely had to dissect a human cadaver before graduating from medical school, few things probably make him or her feel uncomfortable.
4. Intersperse questions into your conversation
Doctors are human. As such, they are as prone to wandering minds as anyone else. While your medical concerns may be at the front of your mind, they may be routine for your doctor. If you think your physician is not paying attention, ask questions throughout your appointment. This approach encourages your doctor to refocus.
5. Ask for your medical records
Finally, if you discover communication barriers with your doctor, you may need to seek a second opinion or change treating physicians altogether. When you meet with a new healthcare professional, you want to provide as much information as possible. By requesting a copy of your medical records, you give your new doctor important insights into your overall health.
Talking to your doctor does not have to be challenging. Still, miscommunication can be disastrous for your health. By endeavoring to communicate effectively, you increase your chances of receiving the proper diagnosis and treatment plan.