Whether your doctor visit is for a well checkup or something else, preparation and good communication will ensure you get the most from the visit.
Feb 06, 2018Your Health
But one thing that's often ignored, or forgotten about, is the importance of knowing how to talk to your health care provider. He or she is an important check in making those goals a reality.
Whether your visit is for a well checkup or something else, without good communication and an effective doctor-patient relationship, you're possibly missing out on getting the best care you can.
I think that many of us assume—often wrongly—that our physicians know how to talk to us. But the fact is that basic communication skills can evade anyone—even the most skilled practitioner. It may be that they're too rushed to sit down and have a focused and comprehensive conversation. Or, they may be brilliant medically but lack interpersonal skills.
There's lots of research to suggest that the quality of physician communication can positively affect the quality of life for patients, not to mention satisfaction with, and adherence to, their health care and treatment. We need not just an exchange of information, but also a good interpersonal relationship, with a hand in our own decision making.
All this adds up to better health: We tolerate pain better, adhere to recommendations, recover from illness and function better on a day-to-day basis when we have a sense of control, according to studies.
In the past, medical training did not spend much time teaching communication skills to budding doctors. And on the flip side, patients were taught to respect and accept whatever the doctor told them—to be passive and uninvolved. Now it's becoming more recognized that shared decision-making and a collaborative approach is an essential part of treatment and the road toward a better health care experience.
And yet, it can be both difficult and/or unrealistic to expect every health care professional to guide the conversation and sync with you on an emotional level to deliver the kind of care you seek. Learn more about 10 Important Steps to Better Communication With Your Doctor.
That's why we, as patients, need to take our responsibility seriously. What does that mean?