When it comes to your health, you and your doctor are a team, but, whether you’re nervous, shy or uncomfortable, it isn’t always easy talking to your doctor. Speaking up about your health is vital for a solid partnership with your doctor and for the right personal care. With your health in mind, make the most of your time in the exam room with these six tips for effectively communicating with your doctor.
Write it down
Come prepared with a list of questions and concerns about your health. It’s easy to get caught up in the appointment and forget to ask about specific concerns, especially if you get nervous or are flustered. Write down whatever has been bothering you, list out your symptoms and prioritize your concerns and questions. Remember, there is no such thing as a dumb question.
Some things are just plain awkward to ask about, but, trust us, your doctor has heard it all. If you’re feeling timid or shy to broach a particular symptom or subject about your health, don’t be. You doctor has been trained to handle potentially sensitive health care issues professionally. When it comes to your health, be straightforward and honest, so that you can receive the right care for any personal matter.
Just as you prepared before your appointment by writing down questions, symptoms, or concerns, bring your smartphone or notepad with you to jot down suggestions from your doctor during your appointment. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the conversation and forget just what the doctor said.
It’s okay to bring someone you trust along with you to your appointment. Having a support person there can relieve some anxiety you have about visiting with your doctor and can also advocate for your health. A parent, spouse, or sibling might think of questions you hadn’t considered and see it from a different perspective.
Learn all you can
Collect all the information you can during your appointment. If you don’t understand your diagnosis, ask questions until you do. Request for all the information you can get your hands on–printed material from the doctor or other resources the doctor trusts and recommends.
Your time is limited with your doctor in the exam room, so make the most of today’s technology. Get contact information from your doctor on the best way to reach them post-appointment. Many offices today allow for patient-doctor communication through a patient portal website that also contains your medical records. It’s okay if you forget to ask a question or have follow-up concerns regarding your health–just reach out to them after your appointment.