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Improving Patient-Doctor Communication

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Today, let’s talk about improving Patient-Doctor communication. Statistics show that most patients do not fully understand their doctor’s instructions. Health care is best served when you take more responsibility for your own care. Your health could suffer if you don’t understand what you are supposed to do.{{more}} More importantly, you suffer if you don’t understand why you are supposed to do it.

If you are scheduled to take a test. Do you really know how to prepare for it?

You are the expert on you and your doctor is the expert on your health. If you want the best care, you should seek to partner with your doctor. What I mean by that is that you should make sure that you give your doctor all the information he or she needs (do not withhold information) to assist you. Make sure you know what is expected of you. Here are some helpful tips on good patient-doctor communication.

Prepare

Before you visit your doctor:

• Make a list of your symptoms.

• Make a note of your questions and/or concerns

• Include any past medicines or treatments you have tried for your situation.

• Note all of the medicines you take and make sure you take them with you when you visit the doctor. Do not forget to include any vitamins, herbs or over-the-counter medicines you may be taking.

Communicate

During your visit:

• Discuss your notes with your doctor. Make sure to describe and discuss your symptoms and also your concerns.

• Do not be afraid to ask questions. Ask about your medication (see my last article). Ask about the tests that need to be done. Ask about surgery risks, benefits, recovery period and other treatment options (Usually your doctor will tell you all this without you asking).

• Ask your doctor to go over your medicines.

If you choose, you can take notes. Or you can have a friend or relative take notes for you.

Honesty is the best policy. Be honest. If you forgot to take your medicine, mention it. Some patients like to leave out information to test the doctor. Remember it’s your life. Any bit of information you provide helps your doctor.

Last, but not least, -follow up. It is crucial to follow up from time to time with your doctor, even if there is nothing wrong with you. We have to change our mindset from only going to the doctor when we are ill to that of preventative care. Do not go only when you feel ill. Remember the saying “a stitch in time saves nine”.

Dr Kenneth Onu is a resident Consultant Ophthalmologist at the Beachmont Eye Institute/Eyes R Us Send questions to: Beachmont@gmail.com

Tel: 784 456-1210

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