According to the Center for Advancing Health, people who have good working relationships with their physicians tend to be more active in their own health care. They’re more likely to monitor their conditions, exercise more, make positive dietary changes and stick to their medication regimens.
Here’s how to make the most of your doctor-patient relationship.
Go to Regular Check-Ups
The first step in improving your doctor-patient relationship is for you and your family to see your doctor every year when you’re well to discuss preventing illness, instead of only going when you’re sick. This helps everyone get comfortable and feel secure if a major health concern does arise.
Be Prepared for Your Appointment
The average time you’ll have with your primary care physician is only 18 minutes per visit, so make sure to get the most out of it. The Center for Advancing Health advises you to make a list of all your current medications, dosages and any side effects you’re experiencing before your appointment so your doctor gets a full picture of your health. Also, list any new or recurring symptoms or questions to discuss and bring it to your appointment. Coming in with a clear agenda will make it easier for everyone.
With such a short amount of time available for an appointment, don’t be afraid to pull the doctor away from the computer screen or your file for an exam, especially for a closer look at any specific physical concerns. You can also ask your doctor to make the exam room a technology-free place to ensure you have his or her undivided attention.
Take Notes or Have a Buddy
Be sure to ask your questions and get answers that you understand. Take written notes or bring someone else with you to help you remember what your doctor explains as well as any recommendations.
Be Clear on Action Steps Going Forward
Always take the time to clarify any next steps and recommendations for improving your condition, health and wellness. Before you leave, schedule a follow-up and any annual appointments for you or your family members. Not only is it practical, but it also shows loyalty to your physician and dedication to your health.