Get the Most Out of a Doctor’s Visit With These Top 5 Tips
Posted on Oct 16, 2012 | 0 comments
If you feel nervous talking to your doctor, you are not alone. A recent study by PAMF researchers found that patients want to participate in making decisions with their doctors, but feel vulnerable and worried that they might be perceived as “difficult.”
“In my experience, a well informed and engaged patient will usually have the best outcome” says Jaclyn Gadbaw, M.D., a Family Medicine doctor practicing at PAMF’s Mountain View Center. “This is because I then know what the patient needs and what they are willing to do in treatment. This way, we can work together in formulating the best medical plan.”
These 5 tips from Dr. Gadbaw may help you get started:
Write out your questions ahead of time. If you feel too nervous to ask them out loud, you can always hand the list to the doctor. Use the medical history forms you fill out before your appointment to help you think of questions you want to ask. PAMF makes many of these forms available online ahead of appointments. Click here for a list.
- Build a relationship with your doctor. Strong relationships start with trust and honesty. This is not always easy. It can mean telling your doctor the truth about bad health habits you normally avoid discussing with anyone. It may involve speaking about deep-set fears or overcoming embarrassment. No matter what you have to say, your doctor will appreciate your honesty and the courage it took to say it.
- Remember that you are the expert on you. Your doctor is an expert on health and disease, but it is your body and your life. You know what is and isn’t possible for you. If you do not understand something, tell your doctor. Often, if you explain concerns to your doctor, he or she can help.
- Bring a buddy. A close family member or friend can help you remember what your doctor said and think of follow-up questions to ask. Even if all they do is help you feel less nervous speaking up when you do not understand something, it will help you get more our of your appointment.
- Don’t forget your medications. If making a list of all drugs and supplements you take is difficult, simply put all the bottles in your medicine cabinet in a bag and bring that. This includes vitamins, herbal remedies, supplements and over-the-counter (non-prescription) drugs you regularly take. Make sure to note how much you take and how often you take it.
Forgot to ask something? PAMF patients who use My Health Online can send free secure electronic messages to their doctor’s office at any time. Sign up here.