Monday, December 19, 2005

Six Ways To A Better Doctor's Appointment

Like your doctor, but don’t feel like you’re connecting? Experts offer advice to be sure you’re not the one creating tension between the two of you.
1. Come Prepared.
Write down your questions, symptoms, and things to discuss with your doctor before your appointment. When you do this, the conversation will keep moving and your doctor is more likely to stay focused on you.
2. Take Notes.
Studies show that 20-50 percent of what the doctors said is forgotten by the time you get in the parking lot. Write down instructions or any other important information while you’re in there. This also lets the doctor know that you take him/her seriously.
3. Avoid “By the Way” Moments.
If you’re too nervous, feel too rushed, or you’re too embarrassed to ask the one question that really matters to you, you’ll often blurt it out while the doctor is going out the door. Often the most important things are brought up in the last minutes of an appointment and they can make a difference in your treatment regimen.
4. Do What Your Doctor Says.
Believe it or not, many patients don’t follow their doctor’s recommendations and don’t get better. If you feel uncomfortable with the treatment or if you feel you can’t do it, speak up. Your doctor would rather help you create a new plan than prescribe one you won’t or can’t follow.
5. Be Honest.
You may not want to tell your doctor you’re taking nutritional supplements or that you’ve started smoking again, but keeping these things from him can cause problems. Your doctor can’t help you if you don’t tell him the whole story. You may even get hurt if he prescribes something that conflicts with what you’re taking.
6. Speak Up.
David Watts, MD, physician, poet, author, and commentator on National Public Radio, says to tell your doctor if he says or does something that makes you feel uncomfortable. Your feedback will help other patients as well.

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