Better doctor-patient relationships could lead to better patient outcomes according to a recent study. Patients can improve the care they receive by becoming an active participant during appointments, listening to their physicians’ suggestions and acting upon their doctors’ recommendations.
Here are five specific steps that you can take to become a better patient:
- Have these four things prepared for your appointment:
- A current list of over-the-counter medications, prescription medications and dietary supplements you are taking. If something doesn’t fit into any of the previous three categories but you ingest it to improve your health, include it here.
- A list documenting any new health issues or concerns you might have.
- Updates to your medical history that your doctor might not know about.
- Your family’s past medical history.
- Prioritize problems noted in step one. This ensures that doctors resolve serious issues before they severely affect your health.
- Record your visit. Doctors may overwhelm you with information and advice that you probably won’t remember when you get home. So what can you do? Take notes and ask questions. Make sure you understand what your doctor is telling you.
- Agree on a treatment plan. Talk to your doctor about your lifestyle to make sure that you two decide upon a treatment plan that you can follow.
- Establish trust. You may be afraid to tell your doctor what you’re really taking, the amount of physical activity you are getting, what you’re eating or the amount of beer you have been drinking. It’s important to tell your doctor and be honest. They’re there to help you!
You are ultimately the person most affected by your treatment, so don’t hesitate to become an active participant. You might even improve your care!