Communication is crucial in the doctor-patient relationship. However, not all patients know how to communicate effectively with their doctors or best navigate the often complex world of medical care. In this blog post, you’ll learn tips on improving your communication skills with your physician so that both parties are aware of what health issues need addressing.
Make your appointments more private
To make the most of your appointment time, it’s essential to remember that you’ll be talking about personal health issues. While you may feel comfortable talking with your healthcare provider about these things, other people in the room may not. That’s why ensuring you’re in a private room is vital. In some cases, this means asking for one. It can also be helpful to bring along an advocate or friend who can help ensure that no one interferes with your conversation.
Consider bringing along something like earplugs before getting started just in case someone does come back early unexpectedly during conversation time later down the road. It’s also essential to make sure you’re comfortable during your appointment. If the doctor or nurse practitioner asks you a question, do your best to answer it clearly and concisely. If you need help understanding what they’re asking, let them know so they can explain further.
Avoid confrontational speech
When communicating with your healthcare provider, avoid confrontational speech. This type of communication can lead to a breakdown in communication. For example, do not say, “you should have done this” or “you should have done that” when talking about the care you received from your provider. Instead, ask questions that will help clarify if there is still confusion after talking with them directly (e.g., why are we doing X instead of Y?).
Avoid using passive voice when communicating with your healthcare provider. Passive voice makes it unclear who is responsible for an action or event. For example, if you say, “the pain was managed well,” it is unclear whether this means that you were satisfied with the way your pain was managed or whether someone else told you they were happy with how well they managed it.
You can say, “I felt that you managed the pain well” it is clear that you are saying that you were satisfied with how they managed your pain.
Take notes during your consultation
To be an active part of your healthcare, take notes during your consultation and then review them with your doctor further along in the process. By writing down important points and questions, you can remind yourself of what was discussed earlier if you miss something later in the process.
Writing down your doctor’s advice will help you follow through on it more easily, either by keeping yourself accountable or just making sure that nothing gets lost in translation between appointments.
If you’re not comfortable typing while talking with someone else or want to avoid creating an awkward situation where they must listen to you type while they’re talking, a notebook or dictation app can work just as well.
Schedule a follow-up appointment
Follow-up appointments allow you to ask questions and ensure your needs are met. This is especially important if you have a chronic condition or need regular checkups, as many people do. Make sure you understand the diagnosis, treatment options, possible side effects, and how often follow-up appointments should occur (usually, this depends on your age). Ask any other questions during your meeting so that they can be addressed then—and not when it’s too late.
You should also want to find out what time is best for you next time around so the two of you can plan accordingly. When scheduling follow-ups, ask about additional costs. You may be responsible for paying for lab tests, x-rays, prescriptions, and other treatments at the time of service. These costs can add up quickly if you need more preparation for them, so know what you might have to pay out of pocket before you leave.
Get virtual care treatments
Virtual care treatments are a convenient, low-cost alternative to the doctor’s office. Virtual care treatments are beneficial, mostly for kids far away from the city that require constant visits to their pediatrician.
So if you have kids that require immediate attention from their pediatricians, you can now depend on virtual care services for pediatrics. These virtual care applications can help you connect your kids to pediatricians 24/7 regarding treatments for their digestive issues, cold/flu, skin concerns, and many more.
More importantly, these applications allow parents to get real-time updates on their children’s health while they are away from home or traveling. With this app, you can help your child receive utmost care anytime, anywhere.
Hopefully, you’ve found these tips helpful in communicating effectively with your healthcare provider. Remember that communication is a two-way street. It can be challenging to make yourself understood when you feel stressed or anxious. Still, if you try to work on the tips covered here, they should help improve the quality of your interactions with your doctor.