How to Have a Great Relationship with Your Physician (and Reap the Benefits)
Having a great relationship with our doctor is one of the most beneficial relationships we can have. Physicians work with us through our health’s struggles and triumphs and we trust our doctors with some of our most private problems.
Here are some simple steps you can take to start fostering a great relationship with your physician:
Clarify how to get in touch with your physician.
Many offices now offer a patient portal that patients can use to email physicians, their nurses or office staff. In some cases, you can also request an appointment or cancel one through the portal as well.
Find out how you can reach them in an emergency, or what they recommend you do if something comes up after hours.
Being clear about the methods of communication with your physician’s office before you have an emergency can prevent frustration on both sides.
The best time to visit your physician is when you’re healthy.
Getting an annual check up, even when you feel fine, can be key in spotting serious illness early. There are screenings or immunizations that are recommended at almost every age that will help ensure you stay on top of your health.
While you can research symptoms on the internet and learn more about what ails you, being in the room with your doctor is the time to ask questions and get information related specifically to you.
If they explain something you do not understand, ask them to clarify. Treatment always works best when both patient and physician understand the basics of their road to recovery.
Be straightforward and honest.
Any good relationship is built on trust. Sometimes it is hard for us to talk about our health issues, especially if we don’t yet know our physician very well. But the more your physician knows about your personal circumstances, the better equipped they are to help you get the specific treatment you need.
If a doctor asks about your personal life, don’t feel like you have to give too much detail, but be honest about what’s happening. Events like a change of your living situation or the death of a loved one can affect your health. If you think it may be difficult for you to properly describe the issue in person, write it out in a brief note and ask your physician to read it to understand the situation.
Work with your doctor on a prevention plan.
More than anything, doctors want to prevent illness and injury. Ask how you can live a healthier life and get their advice on what you can do specifically for your body and situation.