Doctors aren’t perfect. But sometimes, patients unknowingly do things that may sabotage successful treatment. Are you doing certain things in the doctor’s office that prevent you from getting the quality care you need?
Most doctors see their relationship with their patients as a partnership, where both of you need to work together.
Here are the top 10 things doctors want you to either stop or start doing, so that they can take better care of you.
Stop talking on your cell phone while you’re in the exam room. Your health is an important thing…the phone call can wait.
Stop lying. From sexual practices to bad eating habits, many patients choose not to disclose the full truth to their physicians. Unfortunately, the only way a doctor can treat you to the best of their ability is if they have as complete a picture as possible about your particular health needs. Stop being so afraid that your doctor will judge you, and start telling them the truth.
Start describing what you’re feeling as accurately as possible. Is your pain sharp or dull? Is your headache more in your temple or towards the middle of your head? These details may not seem important, but they can help your doctor make the right diagnosis for you to start feeling better.
Doctors agree that if possible, you should describe the exact location of your problem, how intense the pain is, what may have provoked it and how long it’s lasted. To help you remember, write down your symptoms, as well as any questions that you may have for the doctor during your appointment.
Start telling your doctor the full reason for your visit. Believe it or not, many people don’t explain to their doctors exactly why they’re there. Even if you have a list of concerns, disclose them to the doctor as soon as possible so that they can plan your visit accordingly.
Start telling your doctor what you expect from them. If you have certain hopes or expectations, such as a particular prescription or getting rid of a suspicious-looking mole. This isn’t to say that the doctor will always be able to deliver on your requests, but at least they’ll have a better idea of how to approach your care and be able to clearly explain what they can and can’t do for you.
Start bringing in a list of your medications and supplements. Doctors would love for more patients to tell them exactly what they’re taking, so that when they’re considering a form of treatment, they have all the information they need to provide a more reliable course of action.
Stop leaving with unaddressed concerns. If you have a question, ask, even if you think the doctor is rushed. If you’re worried your headache might be a brain tumor, say it even if you think you sound like a hypochondriac. You never know what positive impact your questions can have on the success of your treatment.
Start keeping a copy of your medical records. You don’t bring your medical records or images with you. Unless you know for certain that your doctor, particularly a new doctor, has your records and images from another office, bring them with you. Again, having a more complete picture of what they’re working with can help doctors figure out the best way to treat you.
Stop being afraid to disagree with the doctor. Yes, so many people are programmed to agree with whatever the doctor says, but if your doctor suggests you should take a particular drug or see a certain specialist, and you don’t understand why or don’t agree with them, say so. Just nodding your head and then ignoring the doctor’s recommendation the second you’re out the door will not help you feel better. Doctors aren’t mind readers – they want to know what you’re thinking so that they can prescribe a healthy course of action that you’ll actually follow.
You don’t follow through with your treatment plan. If you ask questions, help the doctor paint a complete picture of your health and voice all of your concerns, the result should be a treatment plan that fits your needs. However, all of that is useless if you don’t actually follow it. Even if you forgot your pills, or had second thoughts about the treatment plan, contact your doctor and admit to it, so they can best advise you what to do next.
Remember, it’s YOUR health, and feeling better is as much your job as it is your doctor’s.