Doctor/patient relationships

We find constructive solutions to building a healthy relationship with your doctor.
 
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03.Getting the most out of your appointment

Asking the right questions can go a long way towards better health - here are some key tips and strategies to help you get the most out of your appointment.

DoctorscoatJust ask your doctor

Our US sister organisation, Consumers Union, compiled these questions to help you make the most of your consultation with your doctor:

Ailment

  • What is my exact diagnosis? What’s the cause of my problem?
  • How long will I be sick? 
  • How long before I’ll see improvement?
  • Under what conditions should I call you or come back? 
  • Can you recommend any sources of information?

Tests

  • Why is this test necessary? What will it tell us that we don’t already know? 
  • Will the results significantly alter any treatment plans?
  • When will the results be ready? Should I call you for them, or will you call me?
 

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Treatments

  •  What treatments are used for my condition? Which is best for me, and why? 
  • What does the research show about this treatment? 
  • Is there any research on the horizon about treatments for my condition? 
  • What can I expect from this treatment, based on your experience? 
  • What are the side effects of this medication? Will it interact with alcohol, caffeine, or other drugs or supplements I take? Will it make me sleepy? 
  • Are there any alternative treatments appropriate for me to try, either before or along with conventional treatment?

Lifestyle changes

  • How will these changes help my disorder?
  • How soon should I expect to see an effect? 
  • How drastic do the changes have to be to produce real results?
  • Do you have any tips that would make these changes easier?

How can you get the best health care?

  • Ask friends and relatives for recommendations There are many great doctors around, and if you’re not happy with your own, you’ll probably find somebody who is.
  • Ask for a longer appointment if you have more than one issue to discuss. The Medicare gap payment for a longer appointment may be similar to a short one.
  • Take someone with you A friend, relative or spouse can help you remember everything you want to raise with the doctor. They can take notes for you while you talk, and also help you make sense of what you were told. However, this can be counterproductive if that person makes it difficult for you to speak frankly or if they interfere with the conversation, so choose your companion carefully.
  • Write down the medical concerns you want to talk about in order of priority, and make a follow-up appointment if necessary.
  • Talk clearly and frankly You’ll get better care if you explain your concerns as clearly as possible. Talk about your problem without embarrassment – the doctor’s probably heard it all before.
  • Ask questions It’s your body and your health – if you don’t understand something, ask for clarification. If you feel you need to know more, ask where you can find further information.

 

 
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