How to have a Successful Doctor Visit – 4 Easy Steps

health insurance protects youWell, have you ever left the exam room and decided you would not follow the treatment plan or advice your doctor gave you? Or maybe you didn’t make a conscious decision, but simply let the doctor’s words quietly fade away without taking any action.

If you’ve had this experience, then it’s likely that you, or your doctor or both of you were missing something in the encounter. As Paul Newman famously says in the movie “Cool Hand Luke,” you and your doctor had a “failure to communicate.”

Like any relationship, the one between patient and doctor is a two-way street. Both you and your doctor are responsible for creating a successful relationship. Here are 4 simple steps you can take that may help you hold up your end of the bargain.

  1. Engage in the relationship—You work with your doctor to make sure your needs are understood, to understand your doctor’s recommendations and to reach an agreement on your health care plan.
  2. Know what’s most important to you— Share your health beliefs, values and desires so your doctor can consider them when making recommendations. The information you provide could help your doctor think beyond the standard care guidelines.
  3. Speak up, ask questions and be honest—Your doctor needs to know how you feel, what you think about your health and what your lifestyle is. The more complete and honest information you give, the better your doctor’s ability to provide you with personalized health care.
  4. Listen and keep an open mind—Listening may be the most important thing in any relationship, including one between patient and doctor. You go to a doctor to benefit from their knowledge, experience and expertise. After all that, why would you not listen and consider what your doctor tells you? This doesn’t mean that you accept what you hear without question. It only asks that you hear it without predetermined judgment. If you have more questions, ask. You never know what you might learn that could improve your health and well-being.