The relationship you have with your doctor is one of the most important relationships you have and maintaining open communication is key to managing your health and addressing your health concerns.
There are many reasons why people may choose not to entirely disclose information to their doctor. It could stem from feelings of anxiety or worry judgement, and although these hesitations are completely normal, it is imperative to your health to overcome these feelings. So this leaves the question: How do you speak with your doctor? What does your doctor need to know to give you the best care?
Here are a few tips to help you improve the communication and feel more confident in talking with your doctor.
Keep a Symptom Log
If you are experiencing an ongoing issue and have concerning symptoms or if there’s something that you always want to talk with your doctor about but forget during appointments, try keeping a detailed symptom log. Remembering specific questions and details will be easier if you keep a symptom log or a simple health notebook that you can reference at your next appointment.
Share Your History
Telling your doctor your symptoms and concerns is important, but it’s even more important to share the context of your symptoms when they happen. For example, if your knee hurts, explain what you are doing when it hurts, how long it’s been hurting and what exactly your symptoms feel like. While you’re at it, remember to share your family’s medical history as well and any other important information related to your health or a condition you may have.
Share Your Expectations
Having a clear idea of what you want to achieve and what’s important to you is the foundation to building a good relationship with your doctor or physician. This takes more introspective work. Ask yourself, what type of lifestyle do I want? What is my desired outcome related to my concern or condition? What scenario would help me to achieve the best results for my situation and health goals? Try journaling these thoughts so you can share your expectations and desires with your doctor.
Ask "Why" Questions
Most of us live busy lives, but don’t let time constraints stop you from asking your doctor the questions that are important to you and your health. If your doctor suggests a new medication, treatment or surgery, try asking ”why do you think this treatment will benefit me right now?”. Asking questions can help you make wiser healthcare decisions. As a self-pay, healthsharing member, being an informed partner with your doctor is key to cutting down on stress and costs for yourself while also supporting your sharing community in remaining active and healthy.
Being prepared for your next doctor’s appointment will benefit both you and your doctor. The more you know about your available choices and the healthcare process, the more you will be empowered to make better choices for your health.