The average doctor's appointment only takes 20 minutes. If you pass an exam it can be difficult to address your health concerns or ask questions about a diagnosis. This can have serious effects on your health.
A study published in Annals of Family Medicine found that patients who assigned their doctors high ratings for listening to their concerns, for easy-to-understand explanations, and for respecting their needs were in better health than those whose doctors had lower scores had. In short, stronger doctor-patient relationships were associated with better health.
"These relationship efforts enable healthcare providers to personalize and integrate their health care and promote your health," said Principal Investigator R. Henry Olaisen, PhD, MPH, Associate Professor at Case Western Reserve University.
Developing a better relationship with your health care provider could be key to improving your health. Try these 6 strategies before your next appointment.
Be prepared : Before your appointment, make a list of all your concerns, from new symptoms or medication side effects to current needs such as a flu shot or medication refills. Rate the articles and ask about the most important things at the start of the appointment.
"We may need to schedule a follow-up appointment to get everything on the list, but at least we got the most serious first," said Dr. Kathryn Boling, a family medicine specialist with Mercy Personal Physicians in Baltimore, MD.
Show up on time : The later you are at your scheduled appointment, the less time you have to spend with the doctor. Dr. Boling suggested showing up 15 minutes early – and calling ahead if you need to reschedule.
Update your doctor : Your doctor must be aware of any medical care you have received since your last appointment, including emergency room visits or changes to your medication. The information will help clinicians make the best decisions about your current care.
ask questions : If something doesn't make sense or you need more information, don't be afraid to ask questions. Dr. Olaisen also suggested asking what your doctor needs from you in order to personalize your health care and explained, “By asking this question, you'll get your GP more involved … and learn how to communicate more effectively. " he added . Having a list of questions ahead of your appointment will help ensure that all of your questions are answered.
write it down : Do not rely on your memory to follow treatment recommendations. Patients remember exactly less than half of what their doctors tell them, according to a study published in the journal PLOS One. Take notes during your appointment – or use your smartphone to record information – to make sure you are following their advice.
"A lot of my patients come in with notepads," said Dr. Boling. "Better to take notes than to go and think," Well, what did she say? "
Be honest : Tell your doctor if you continued to eat junk food or stopped taking a prescribed medication because of side effects after being diagnosed with high cholesterol.
"If you're being honest, it helps me figure out what to do to motivate you to change," said Dr. Boling. "If you don't tell me the truth, I'm missing an opportunity to improve your health."
Jodi Helmer writes about health for AARP, Women's Day, HealthCentral and others.