Thursday, July 07, 2011

Ideas for Creating a Mutually Successful Doctor Patient Relationship

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Successful doctor / patient relationships require the cooperation and effort of both you as the patient and your doctor. How should you treat your doctor? How should you approach your doctor? Does it even matter? Yes, it really, truly does. These are examples of a few things you can do to improve the success of your doctors' appointments and create the best possible doctor / patient relationship.

Preparation - Spend some time thinking in advance about what you want to accomplish. Write down a list of questions and concerns and a list of prescription refills you need to leave your appointment with in hand. These appointments are far too short to arrive without a concrete idea of what you need to talk about with your doctor. Also, bring a notebook to write down the answers to your questions and take notes about what you and your doctor discussed.

Punctuality - I know it sucks to be kept waiting by a doctor and that it may be tempting to come to your appointment late as a "screw you" kind of move. But it truly doesn't help the situation. Come on time for your appointments and politely say something to the receptionist, office manager and your doctor if you're kept waiting an unreasonably long time. Unfortunately sometimes excellent doctors get way behind on their schedules because they are spending a lot of time with each patient. So it's not necessarily a bad thing, even though it can be frustrating.

Respect - No doctor knows everything and being a doctor doesn't necessarily make you smarter than the average joe, but the fact of the matter is that doctors have specialized knowledge and training and we need them. Treating them with the respect we hope to get back is a good way to establish a quality relationship that will serve you now and in the future. The same goes for the way you treat your doctor's support staff. As the cliche goes, you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. And believe me, if you have a chronic illness, you will need a favor from these people at some point. Count on it.

Attention - It may sound obvious, but apparently it's not because I keep reading about doctors encountering this: Put away your smart phone during your appointment. Unless you're using it to share details about your health conditions with your doctor, it's a rude distraction.

What guidelines do you try to follow in establishing a good doctor / patient relationship?

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DISCLAIMER: Nothing on this site constitutes medical or legal advice. I am a patient who is engaged and educated and enjoys sharing my experiences and news about migraines, pain and depression. Please consult your own health care providers for advice on your unique situation.