Friday, March 15, 2013

Importance of Effective Communication Between You and Your Physician

By Joe Baxter

Establishing a strong connection with your physician can be crucial to quick and effective diagnosing and treatment. This sounds elementary, but when you experience a poor relationship with your doctor, you will realize how important this may be and how much more money you will end up paying for additional medical visits. According to a New York Times article, it was estimated that 200,000 Americans die each year as a result of “medical mistakes.” Help reduce these mistakes by communicating more effectively with your doctor. The first step in this process is to share all health-related information with your doctor and never wait to be asked. This goes without saying as well, but information between you and your physician is confidential, and whatever you may tell him or her, it stays exclusively between the two of you. Here are some specific categories of information which should be prepared and conveyed to your doctor upon visit.

Medications

Understanding the list of medications you are currently prescribed to take or are taking over the counter is imperative to your doctor to avoid negative reactions with a prescription he or she may give you. Therefore you must check your medical information,; oftentimes individuals don’t remember off the top of their head what they are even taking, especially after the medication becomes habitual. If you’re required to discuss birth information or certain oddities which occurred while you were young, bring a parent or someone who has this knowledge along with you. If you can, bring the medicine container just in case. The goal is to allow the most comprehensive background review available, and this will only be possible by illuminating the medications you are or have taken in the past.

Symptoms

You must also understand that your physician is accustomed to hearing personal, often embarrassing information. Patients cannot be afraid to tell a doctor that they’ve gotten a rash on their glutes because of antihemorrhaging cream. Information like this could very easily help a doctor diagnose why exactly you are feeling ill or have not gotten over a condition you should have defeated long ago. Simple symptoms such as slight eye irritation or prolonged headaches can each be causes for concern. Omit nothing because you’ll eventually regret it.

Current/Past Doctors

If you’re moving on and disbanding a previous relationship with a doctor or clinic, or simply visiting a physician who specializes in something like respiratory disease, you’ll certainly need to relay information about past interactions with other physicians to the new physician. This will streamline the process of getting you cured. The new physician will be able to contact past doctors and discuss certain quirks in your medical history that you may have been passed over for any given reason. Your file should have this information recorded accurately, but just in case you’ll need to discuss this with your doctor.

Questions

If you have an impending questions, concerns, or comments regarding your health care, there is no need to be shy. Physicians of all fields are trained to receive and digest your personal data and synthesize a plan for proper treatment. If you feel nauseated to the point of vomiting after ingesting a certain medication, tell your doctor exactly what type of problems you are having and ask why this is the case. It could very well be that you are having allergic reactions to the drug or something of the like. The best way to accomplish this is to draft a list of possible questions before you get to the office.

A strong and intimate relationship is based upon quality communication. Obviously the relationship you share with your doctor will be drastically different from the one you share with your girlfriend, boyfriend, wife, or husband, but the point remains the same. If you desire the highest quality care while also limiting unnecessary visits to the doctor’s office, relay all pertinent (and nonpertinent) information upfront. Your doctor will appreciate it, you will benefit, and the relationship you share with your doctor will be that much greater.

Now that he's retired from the field of medical research, Joe Baxter has picked up freelance writing. He particularly enjoys writing about medical journals. Apart from writing, he spends the rest of his free time traveling abroad and working in his wood shop.

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