A visit to your health care provider can resolve many health concerns. But, if communication is poor, you may walk away feeling confused and frustrated. In today's health care environment, preparation and communication are more important than ever. Dissatisfaction often means the patient did not discuss what was most troubling, or his or her questions were never answered. Although health care providers work hard to give top quality health care, they may not anticipate or recognize the concerns a patient may have. At the same time, patients' feelings may prevent them from asking questions.
For example, some patients are hesitant to talk about sensitive health topics such as: urinary incontinence, prostate problems, sexual dysfunction, sexually transmitted diseases, or gynecological problems. Others may not think their symptoms are important; or they may be afraid of wasting the provider's time; of hearing bad news, or learning about treatment options.
Take the following simple, but effective steps to prepare for a visit to your health care provider:
- Learn as much as you can about your condition.
- Develop and bring with you a list of your symptoms; questions; including any you may think are silly, embarrassing or unimportant; and your family's medical history. This history, along with a physical examination, is extremely helpful in making a diagnosis.
- Bring all of your medications.
During your visit, ask:
- What are the most likely reasons for my problem(s)? What test(s) do you advise? What are the risks?
- What is the prognosis? That is, will it go away by itself? How long will it last? What are the pros and cons of treatment, or no treatment at all?
- What can be done to prevent complications or recurrences?
- At the end of your visit, review your questions and be sure all of your concerns have been addressed. If they have not, insist that your health care provider provide more information.
~ A healthier lifestyle will benefit all areas of your life. ~
For more information on communicating well with your health care provider contact the Genesee County Health Department 585-344-2580 ext. 5000.