Partnering With Your Doctor
Have you been frustrated with your medical provider? Do they seem to understand your concerns and really listen to your needs? It is easy to place the entire burden of your health and wellness on your physician but should he or she really shoulder this immense responsibility alone? How might you improve your health outcomes by partnering with your health care team?
To start, we must consider our bodies.
For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. 14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.[a] Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. 16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.
David praises God for the care he took in making his body. He recognized the complexities of his being. He even asks in verse 23 for God to examine his heart and to find ways he can improve himself to please God more. David took a close look at his body and was in awe. When was the last time you took a close look at your body?
Improving your physical awareness will assist your doctor as he is making decisions related to your medical care. Advocating for yourself begins with understanding yourself. What are your expectations for the visit? What is your chief complaint? Take the time to become more attuned to your physical being. Learn what is “normal” and what is not and communicate openly with your health care providers about issues of concern.
Matthew 8:17 (ESV)
This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah: “He took our illnesses and bore our diseases.”
Getting the Most Out of the Visit
Before your appointment:
· When making the appointment, either by phone or online, provide a few details about your concern so that a proper length of time can be scheduled.
· If it is your first visit to a particular clinic or physician, be ready to provide information about diseases that run in your family and describe current and past health problems and treatments. Write it all down if that helps and bring past medical records, test results, and your immunization records.
· Make a list of the medications you are taking (or bring in the bottles) including the doses and frequency of prescription and over-the-counter drugs, as well as herbs, supplements and vitamins.
· Find a friend or relative to accompany you to your visit. A lot of information may be presented at a doctor’s visit, it may helpful to bring a friend or relative to help you write things down, share medical information, and talk with the health care team.
During Your Appointment:
· Don't forget about your emotional health; it influences your physical health.
· Your health is worth the physician’s time. Repeat what the doctor has told you to be sure you understand and ask for clarification if needed.
· Try to reach an agreement about the recommended treatment plan.
Before Leaving Your Appointment:
· Find out if and when you should return for another visit and clarify any next steps. Schedule a follow-up appointment if necessary.
· Ask if you need to watch for certain warning signs for your condition, ask when you should be concerned and at what point you need to call in.
· If you received a new prescription, make sure you ask questions about how it should be taken and potential side effects.
· Ask how to reach the doctor if you have questions or concerns – by email? By phone? What hours are best? How soon can you expect a response?
· Don't leave if you're uncertain about your diagnosis or treatment plan.
*Source: Center for Advancing Health
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