Is there such a thing as a “good patient?”
Absolutely… a good patient is one who partners with doctors and other medical professionals, taking a proactive role rather than a passive or adversarial role.
The doctor-patient relationship is the cornerstone of patient-centered, compassionate medicine, but only if both doctors and patients take responsibility for their respective roles.
Five Ways to Partner with Your Doctor… and Take Charge of Your Health
1. Be Prepared
- Bring a list of the names and dosages of all medications you are currently taking, including over-the-counter medicines and nutritional supplements.
- If you’ve been having symptoms for a long period of time, it might also help to bring a list of symptoms and dates.
- If you have concerns about understanding or remembering details of the visit, bring a family member, friend, or interpreter with you. Take notes.
- If this is a new doctor, bring copies of medical records, or have previous doctors forward the information prior to your visit.
2. Clearly State the Reason for your Visit
Make good use of your time by communicating all your concerns. If this is more than a general physical, make sure you say so in advance. Don’t leave out important details in the hope that your doctor will figure it out.
3. Be Honest
It’s embarrassing to admit our shortcomings, but this is no time to be shy.
- If you’re a smoker, admit it. Be honest about what you eat and drink, as well as your exercise habits. If you haven’t been taking your medication, say so. Major decisions about your health rest upon your complete honesty.
- Don’t forget to mention any complementary medicines or therapies you may use.
- If you have no intention of following the doctor’s instructions, say so up front so alternatives can be decided upon.