A doctor undergoes years of intense studies and practice to become qualified for undertaking a responsible job – maintaining a patient’s health. They are those beings in whom we put our trust, hoping for better health.
Here 6 steps to build a good relationship with your doctor and ensure you receive the right treatment:
#1 Go ahead, ask questions
How about understanding a little more about the treatment the doctor suggests for you? Asking questions about how a medicine will work and things you can do to speed up recovery not only gives you a better control over your condition, it also creates a channel for open and honest communication between you and your doctor. You’d feel more relaxed once you understand the doctor’s way of working. Don’t be the patient who simply waits for the doctor to tell him/her what to do – be part of the complete treatment plan.
#2 Don’t leave out details
Expect the most effective treatment in the shortest possible time? Make sure your doctor has all information he might need for proper diagnosis and treatment plan. Yes, even that seemingly unrelated allergy you had months ago might be connected to your present condition.
#3 Do your own research
An important way to get the most out of your doctor includes arming yourself with some knowledge about your symptoms and the possible diagnosis and treatment that could be suggested to you. This would enable an informed discussion with the doctor later and help you raise any red flags in case you are being misled into unnecessary procedures.
#4 Speak up and clarify
Confused about an extremely expensive medication the doctor put you on? Or wonder why you need that MRI instead of an X-ray? If something doesn’t feel right or you feel you are unclear about something, don’t be afraid to have your doubts clarified. A good doctor acting in your interest would immediately offer an explanation.
#5 Get a second opinion
Not sure about going ahead with an elaborate treatment plan the doctor just outlined for you? Don’t worry; it is perfectly normal to seek another specialist’s opinion on the case. The important bit is that you must yourself believe in the treatment you undertake too.
#6 Know your doctor
The Internet has a wealth of information, ranging from the hospital you are about to visit to the accreditations of the doctor you shall consult. Learn about the doctor’s qualifications, experience in the field, and reviews from past patients, if any. Well, there isn’t one ‘best’ doctor. There is, however, a good doctor for your condition – one who is competent, patient, transparent and most of all, makes you feel comfortable enough to trust his/her judgement.
While most doctors are ethical and feel the responsibility towards the health of their patients, there are some red flags you should be beware of:
#1 Your doctor makes a mistake and covers up
Sure, a doctor’s job is one with high responsibility. But be careful of abrupt changes in treatment (without explanation) or failing to own up following a medical or surgical error.
#2 Running around for too many tests
Is your doctor prescription happy, while keeping you in dark for why you need them? Or keeps referring you to endless diagnostic tests without ever giving explanations over their need or discuss the results? Red flag.
#3 Your doctor doesn’t make time for you
Does he listen to you patiently?
Does he even meet you or do his/her assistants check you?
Want to make sure you get the correct diagnosis and the most effective treatment from a doctor?
Sources: Image courtesy of [David Castillo Dominici] at FreeDigitalPhotos.net “Should you trust your doctor?” CNN.com, Dr. Anthony Youn, August 23, 2013, http://edition.cnn.com/2013/08/23/health/youn-trust-your-doctor/ “The Lies That Doctors and Patients Tell,” NYTimes.com, Dr. Sandeep Jauhar M.D., February 20, 2014,http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/02/20/the-lies-that-doctors-and-patients-tell/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0 “10 Signs It May Be Time To Fire Your Doctor,” Forbes.com, Deborah L. Jacobs, December 8, 2011, http://www.forbes.com/sites/deborahljacobs/2011/12/08/10-signs-it-may-be-time-to-fire-your-doctor/ “10 Ways to Catch a Liar,” WebMD.com, Heather Hatfield, http://www.webmd.com/balance/features/10-ways-catch-liar