Research has shown that patients who have good relationships with their doctors tend to be more satisfied with their care—and have better results. Here are some tips to help you and your doctor become partners in improving your health care. What tips do you have?
- GIVE INFORMATION; DON'T WAIT TO BE ASKED. You know important things about your symptoms and your health history. Tell your doctor what you think he or she needs to know.
- GET PERSONAL. Tell your doctor personal information, even if it makes you feel embarrassed or uncomfortable.
- BRING DOCUMENTS. Bring a "health history" list with you, and keep it up to date. <br>Bring any medicines you are taking, or a list of medicines; include when and how often you take them and what strength. <br> Tell your doctor about any herbal products you use or alternative medicines or treatments you receive.<br>Talk about any allergies or reactions you have had to your medicines.<br>Bring other medical information, such as x-ray films, test results, and medical records.
- ASK QUESTIONS. If you don't, your doctor may think you understand everything that was said.<br> Write down your questions before your visit. List the most important ones first to make sure they get asked and answered.<br> You might want to bring someone along to help you ask questions. This person can also help you understand and/or remember the answers.<br>Some doctors do not mind if you bring a tape recorder to help you remember things. But always ask first.
- GET WRITTEN INSTRUCTIONS. Your doctor may have brochures, audio tapes and videotapes that can help you. If not, ask how you can get such materials. <br>Ask your doctor to draw pictures if that might help to explain something.
- CALL. If your symptoms get worse, or if you have problems with your medicine, call. <br>If you had tests and do not hear from your doctor, call for your test results.