Visiting Your Healthcare Professional
You live with your body every day…
Your health professional can have every medical degree known to man but he doesn’t live in your skin…
What’s normal for you may not be normal for someone else.
In order to properly treat you, the professional you trust with your medical care has to know what you’re feeling and the more detail you can provide, the better.
The bottom line is, you have to get involved in your own care if you want any chance of a good outcome.
Plan Now For Your Next Visit
Regardless of whether you’re seeing a health professional that you’ve seen before or if it’s a first time visit, the more information you can provide about your current symptoms, the better. Don’t expect to just walk into the office and “wing it” and get the best possible outcome.
Be honest in the information you provide to your health professional. If you don’t provide accurate information, there is no way he can accurately diagnose and treat whatever problems you’re having.
Plan to provide the following information:
• The reason for your current visit – what are you worried about? What changes in have you noticed in your body? What are your symptoms? When did they start?
• Any allergies you have – that includes your allergies to medications, foods or anything else you’ve had an adverse reaction to.
• Make a list of all medications you currently take – both prescribed and over the counter. Be sure to include vitamins, supplements and herbs.
• Be honest about your caffeine and/or alcohol consumption – think about how much coffee, alcohol or even energy drinks you consume in an average day.
• Tell your health professional if you smoke, how much you smoke or if you use smokeless tobacco. Any of these habits can have a significant impact on diagnosing conditions accurately.
Managing Your Care And Your Expectations
If test results are given, you should know how you you will get the answers to your questions once they come in and prepare for your next consultation.
Be prepared to make the most efficient use of your time with your health professional. Most doctor’s offices schedule appointments in 15 minute increments so be ready to hit the ground running when you have face time with your physician.
To do that, you need to:
• Take control of your time. Consult someone with knowledge about your condition or make a research if your doctor is busy to meet all your needs. Many practices have physician’s assistants or nurse practitioners who can tell you what you need to know.
• Make sure you understand exactly what your doctor is telling you. If you don’t, say so. If you want a good outcome, you have to know what you can and can’t do.
• Toward the end of the this initial visit you should have a clear understanding of how and when you will be following up with your doctor.
• Review what you write down with your doctor. Take note and analyze what your healthcare professional tells you.
• Set realistic goals for your treatment. Make sure that your doctor understands exactly what you want to achieve. Do you want to heal? Do you just want to manage your condition? Do you only want to know how to deal with a new medical symptom? Your goals will help your doctor determine how to treat you.
Taking these steps will help you manage your own care and your expectations for what you can realistically achieve through treatment.
Once you’ve had your visit with your health professional and you have a course of treatment in mind, learn as much as you can about your diagnosed condition. Stay on top of new developments and treatments as they become available and always ask your health professional whether or not they would be appropriate for your condition.
Many of us read business publications or Consumer Reports religiously but don’t bother to educate ourselves about our healthcare options. Be an educated consumer. be always aware when consulting with an entry level health-care when discussing about your condition. More and more patients are realizing that they have a great deal of influence on their medical outcomes. Their treatment program is not just something their doctor is responsible for. It’s a partnership that requires full participation on both sides.
Dr. John Hayes, Jr. is an Evvy Award Nominee and author of “Living and Practicing by Design” and “Beating Neuropathy”. Register your information at http://perfectpracticeweb.com to get a free CD and information packet on his unique services. Peripheral neuropathy doctors and patients will find more at http://neuropathydr.com