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5 Ways to Partner with Your Doctor

4. Ask Questions
Don’t be afraid to ask follow-up questions!

  • If you’ve been given a prescription, ask about potential side effects or drug interactions… and if there are alternatives to taking the prescribed medication.
  • If additional medical tests are ordered, make sure you understand why, if there are any alternatives, and what the doctor expects to learn. Ask how and when you will receive results of these tests. Don’t go along with the “no news is good news” theory. If you do not receive test results in a timely manner, make the call yourself.
  • If a surgical procedure is suggested, make sure you understand the potential benefits, risks, or alternatives.
  • If you have a chronic illness, ask when you should make your next appointment and learn the warning signs that would require immediate care.

5. Be Active, Not Passive
You needn’t wait for your doctor to mention something that’s important to you. It’s your health and you will do better with treatment if you are a partner in your own care. Nobody understands your body, your mind, your life the way you do.

  • If you believe you need a second opinion, don’t be afraid to get one.
  • If you think an alternate treatment might be available, ask about it.
  • If you have been diagnosed with a medical condition, do additional research on your own. When searching for health information online, consider the source. Look at the address in your web browser and make sure it is a reputable person or institution. Use the web to create a list of questions to ask your doctor.
  • Understand the difference between physician-provided information and patient-provided information. Other patients can give you a point of view that your doctor probably cannot. This can be extremely valuable, although not a substitute for medical care.

If your doctor does not treat you with respect or discourages your active role, it’s time to find a new doctor who believes in patient-centered, compassionate care.

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5 Signs You Should Break Up with Your Doctor


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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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