Five Ways to Become a More Engaged Patient
I’ll be the first to admit that I ask a ton of questions when I see my health care provider: “Why is that? What is the cause? How should it look? Should I be concerned?”
And as soon as I walk out of my provider’s office all of that medical speak went in one ear and out the other; the whole experience seemed like a blur. “What did he say again?”
That recent visit with my provider spurred me to ask a doctor how a patient could be more engaged when visiting their health care provider and this is what he told me:
Think about your visit
After you have made an appointment with your health care provider, think about your visit ahead of time and prioritize your concerns. Since you may not have that much time to discuss everything in one visit, prioritize your biggest concerns and try to limit your questions to focus on that area.
Know what medications and supplements you are currently taking. If you have recently seen other providers know their names and what they did or told you to do. If you have had any medical testing recently performed know the results. If you have any documentation that was recently given to you from a provider bring it to your appointment. Get organized – consider creating a folder with all medical evaluations and records.
If researching something, write it down and bring it in
If you have been researching a condition or a question on the Internet or in the library, write down the source of that information so your provider can assess if that information source is viable. Remember that information on the Internet varies in reliability.
Ask your provider to speak in simple terms
Providers often forget that they sometimes use language and terms that only medical personnel could understand. If you don’t understand what your provider is saying, ask them to explain it to you in simpler terms and ask them to use plain language.
Ask your provider for a summary and take notes
It can be challenging to remember every detail that occurs during a medical encounter. Ask your provider to summarize everything for you at the end of a visit. Don’t be afraid to take notes either. Better yet, bring someone with you to take notes so you can be fully engaged in the discussion. Pay particular attention to any changes in your medications.
Being prepared, taking good notes, knowing what your provider is saying and researching a condition (if possible) ahead of time will help you become a more engaged patient and will leave you with more answers than questions after your next doctor’s visit.
Check out our video on how to become a more engaged patient.