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5 Ways to Partner with Your Doctor

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5 Ways to Partner with Your Doctor

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.
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7:43AM PDT on May 9, 2014

Thank you

8:45AM PDT on Jul 1, 2011

Come in with a list of questions or topics you want to discuss. Don't assume your MD will bring up what's important to you.

10:47AM PDT on May 23, 2011


10:27PM PDT on Apr 11, 2011

Still looking for an open minded one!

8:58AM PST on Mar 7, 2011

Good advice.

10:22AM PST on Mar 6, 2011

very usefull

9:40AM PST on Mar 3, 2011

Having fired my Primary Care Physician because she just ridiculed every opinion or question I had I now have a great working relationship with my new Primary Care Physician. We have developed a two-way conversational approach to my care and it is working well. He encourages my use of herbs and supplements in lieu of medications so as to reduce potential side effects of medications. I have chronic back problems and other medical issues so it was vital that I find a "good" doc. I was very careful when I interviewed doctors for the job of being my Primary Care Physician. There are specific requirements that I had and this doc met them all with flying colors. He returns my phone contacts, he calls me with results of all lab work whether it is positive or negative, he talks to me as if I have a working knowledge of my body and treats me with great respect. The additional benefit is that we are both retired military so we speak the same language. It is vital that we all take an active role in our physical wellbeing and treat the doctor with the same respect we expect to be treated with. It is a working relationship and should be treated as such. Both partners need to take an active and complimentary role in seeing that the relationship works. If it is not, nothing says you can't fire the doctor and hire a new one. Just be very conscientious when you interview doctors for the position you want them to take in your care. Remember they are working for you and should act accordingly.

3:45AM PST on Mar 2, 2011

p.s. Even though I can't work full time if I wanted to, I can't get disability because each doctor refuses to put anything in my chart about my back problem. Because x-rays are negative, they don't diagnose me with anything.

Yet every time I go into the hospital, for the reduction surgery, giving birth, etc, when they've pumped me with IV fluids and gave me antibiotic for the procedure, not only did I flush out a lot, I became pain free for 3-6 weeks. I tell the doctors this and they still can't come up with anything...

I'm wishing I could do something, because this pain is getting too much to bear. I try not to complain, but it's not easy. If someone has a suggestion, I'd be happy to hear it. I've been tested for cushing's disease also.

My son is almost 11. I'd like to be able to do more with him. I don't like doing so little, because I can't get verb.

3:39AM PST on Mar 2, 2011

Well, doctors need to be willing to work with patients too. I'm an anomaly, where they can't seem to figure out what is wrong with me. They all end up at the point of shrugging, saying there's nothing more to offer.

I have 24/7 chronic & severe back pain. I can't sit, stand or walk for an hour at a time. I'm too stiff to be able to stretch, and I have a strong back, so weakness isn't an issue. X-rays and MRI show nothing, although it starts at the spine and goes outward in my mid back, right below the shoulder blades. The muscle feels like it's burning, often either like a fire or there's "hot snot". After sleeping for 6 hours, I'm so stiff I can't move, and need help out of bed... Which is scary, I'm a home care aid and I need help out of bed...

I've been to PT 4 times, and doesn't help. A breast reduction only reduced the area of pain, it used to go up to the upper back also. The chiropractor who takes my insurance won't do an adjustment, and I can't afford full price elsewhere. Acupuncture is way too costly, and certain drugs make me groggy the next day. NSAIDS do nothing except give me heartburn.

I'm in process of getting a TENS pack and maybe a back brace. Hopefully those will help. If not, then well, I just don't know. I feel like I have an infection in the soft tissue, but blood work doesn't show anything, and they refuse to do other tests.

Then, I find out I can go in and pay for their time, but they're not obligated to treat me.

12:17PM PST on Feb 28, 2011

Agree this article. Doctors controlled by govt cannot tell me all..

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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