A new analysis of patients and their visits with doctors finds that being coached and prepared for your doctor visit helps you get the best care possible. In fact, research dating back to the 1970’s has shown that the more informed and involved a patient is - the BETTER your overall care and results!! Yet all too often I hear sad stories from people who failed to get the time and attention they needed during a doctor’s visit because they were not prepared. I have been teaching patients how to do this for many years. It has helped my family, friends and patients - and can help you as well.
The article below summarizes the recent findings and presents an interview I gave to the writer about the importance of being prepared and how best to do it. Here are a few tips:
1) Bring a health buddy - another set of eyes and ears - with you inside the exam room. 2) Prepare for the visit with this friend or family member by filling out an agenda, listing the top 2-3 concerns that you have and want addressed during the visit. 3) Bring your medical record file (hopefully by now you know to keep your own medical records altogether in a 3-ring binder or folder) with you - along with a self-addressed stamped envelope to request copies of any test results, procedures, or consultation letters your doctor may have.
4) Have your health buddy take notes during the visit and review this information together once you leave the office. Believe it or not, it is estimated that up to 50% of what a doctor tells you during a visit may be forgotten the minute you leave the office!!
You can learn lots more about taking charge of your health at my website, www.DrSavard.com. I would love to hear from any of you about your experiences with your next doctor visit - and will share any useful tips and suggestions with all of you as they come up.