How often do you leave a medical appointment feeling as though your concerns weren’t fully addressed, or your problem wasn’t actually resolved? Do you ever experience confusion later, because you didn’t fully understand what your doctor was explaining? Do you ever feel like check-ups are rushed, and you didn’t receive your doctor’s full attention?
These feelings are common. But these tips can help you slow down a rushed appointment, and reach a better state of communication with your doctor.
Write it down ahead of time. If have questions or concerns that you want to address with your doctor, come prepared with a list. This way you won’t get swept up in one discussion, only to forget something else that was equally as important to you.
Start with your most pressing concerns. Report potentially serious symptoms first, then work your way down to more minor concerns or questions about routine tests.
Don’t minimize anything. If you’re concerned about a particular symptom because a close relative’s serious illness began the same way, then go ahead and say so. Don’t hold back for fear of your doctor thinking you’re paranoid. Their job is to investigate potential illnesses, but they should also reassure you when a fear turns out to be unfounded.
Ask questions. Medical appointments can be stressful, and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and confused. If you aren’t clear on something, ask your doctor to repeat it.
Request more information. Ask your doctor if you can record the conversation, so that you won’t forget anything, or if they can give you a handout explaining your condition, tests, or procedures in more detail.
Share. If you have feedback on recent tests, treatments, or other services, tell your doctor about them. They need to know how their patients feel about their experiences, so that they can incorporate this knowledge into their practice.
Remember, honesty is always the best policy when it comes to medical care. Tell your doctor everything that is on your mind, and ask for help or referrals when you need them. You have more control over the direction of your healthcare than you might believe.