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Dec 2, 2009

Are you a good patient? 
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How you can take charge of your own health and become your own best health care advocate.
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Do you make some of these common mistakes with your doctor? 
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1 - Do you fail to clearly state the problem?

...and leave out important details, expecting the doctor to figure it out? The time allotted with the doctor is often very limited. Make good use of your time by communicating your concerns clearly. Doctors are mere humans, with no extra talent for mind reading.
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2 - Do you play loose with the facts?
...by saying that you don’t drink or smoke when you actually do
...by saying you take the medicine as prescribed when you don’t?
...about your diet and about your exercise regime?
Lying to the doctor is not in our own best interest. We entrust our doctors with our health, but we can’t expect to get the full benefit of their knowledge and experience unless we tell the truth -- no matter how uncomfortable it may be. Your doctor has little choice but to trust what you say.
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3 - Do you come to visits unprepared?
...not knowing the names and dosages of any medications you are currently taking... not being able to say when and where the problem began... It doesn’t take long to jot down a few key facts on a piece of paper that you can bring to doctor visits. When you are unprepared, you tend to take up more time unnecessarily, contributing to the wait times of other patients, and you are more often apt to leave with questions unanswered.
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4 - Do you fail to ask follow-up questions?
...such as what are the potential side effects or drug interactions of prescribed medication... when and how can you expect results of tests... warning signs... next steps...
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5 - Do you take a passive role rather than an active role?
...by waiting for your doctor to mention something and, if he doesn’t, letting it go? It’s your health we’re talking about here. If you think a second opinion is in order, ask for one. If you wonder about an alternative to the recommended treatment, ask about it. If your doctor doesn’t treat you with respect and compassion or does not encourage you to be an active participant in your own health care decisions, it’s time to find a new doctor.
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If you answered "YES" to any of these questions, you are not doing all you can to foster patient-centred, compassionate care -- but these problems are easy to fix. If you are doing your part, then you need a doctor who will do the same. If you’ve got that, you’re in pretty good shape.
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(Taken from Care2's Are You Guilty of Making These 5 Mistakes With Your Doctor? author Ann Pietrangelo)
Related material:
What Happened to Patient-Centred, Compassionate Medicine?  Doctor/Patient Relationship Poll Twitter:@AnnPietrangelo

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Posted: Dec 2, 2009 3:59am

 

 
 
Content and comments expressed here are the opinions of Care2 users and not necessarily that of Care2.com or its affiliates.

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Jenny Dooley
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