Most of us probably imagine that we’re good patients when we visit our doctors. After all, we’re just trying to do the best for our health– our intentions are straight-forward and make sense. At least to us. But that’s not necessarily true for doctors. According to a recent survey done of doctors who have daily interactions with patients, some doctors define almost a quarter of their office visits as “difficult.”
How your doctor sees you depends both on yourself, and on your doctor. While some doctors see many of their patients as demanding or difficult to work with, others will not see the same patient that way. But this doesn’t necessarily mean that being seen as a difficult patient is entirely the doctor’s fault. With an average of only 10-15 minutes per office visit, doctors have incredible busy schedules. And there’s a lot you can do to make their jobs easier.
Want to be an “easy” patient, and therefore make your doctor visits more efficient and effective? Read on for tips on being a good patient.
Visit more often. This sounds a little counter-intuitive doesn’t it? Isn’t an easy patient one that the doctor doesn’t have to see that often? Not always. Because most of us don’t like visiting the doctor’s office, we tend to put it off for as long as we can. And so when we finally do see the doc, we have more things to discuss with him or her than we have time to discuss them. Visiting the doc whenever you have a problem worth addressing will make each visit more effective in the long run.
Know exactly what you want to talk about. Even if your doctor pretends that they have all the time in the world to chat with you, they don’t. So in order to make your doctor visit go smoothly –and to get what you want from it– you need to know exactly what it is you’re there for. Make a list of what you want to talk about, and do your best to stick to it.
Get your priorities straight. When you make your list of medical concerns, be sure to decide which ones are truly your priorities. And then make a point of bringing those concerns up first. Start off with whatever’s most important, and work your way down your list if you have time. If you spend your whole appointment chatting about less important issues, only to bring up your real concerns when your doctor needs to move on to another patient, you won’t be getting what you need from your visit. And you’ll probably frustrate your doctor in the process.
Be honest. Really. Ask any doctor, and he or she will probably tell you that dishonest patients are one of the most frustrating things to deal with. A doctor cannot effectively monitor your health and progress if you’re not honest about what you do. If you feel like your doctor will judge you for forgetting to take your medicine or making “poor” lifestyle choices, try to put those feelings aside. Being open with your doctor is an important part of getting proper care. And if you’re truly worried that your doctor will judge you, let them know ahead of time so they can try to soften their words.
Find the right doctor for you. Sometimes a doctor just isn’t a great match for you; no matter what you try to do right, that doctor may see you as a difficult patient. When that happens, it’s okay to request a new doctor. You need to feel comfortable and open with your doctor; if you don’t, it’ll get in the way of your care. And chances are, your doctor will be just as happy with the change as you are.
Ask, don’t demand. A lot of patients come in after reading about various medicines and conditions on the internet, and demand prescriptions, tests, or treatments. While educating yourself about the possibilities is good, these sorts of patients can be incredibly frustrating to doctors. So even if you’re sure that you need to be tested for a particular disorder or would like a prescription for a particular drug, don’t make demands. Speak to your doctor calmly about why you feel the way you do. After all, it’s generally better to trust a medical professional’s opinion than it is to trust Google’s.
By SilasCamargo from Pixabay