Tips For Improving Your Patient-Provider Relationship
Living with chronic health conditions is challenging in and of itself. One of the most important aspects of living with a chronic health condition is the relationships that you maintain with your many healthcare providers. These relationships can unfortunately sometimes be some of the most contentious and frustrating parts of your care. However, in order for you to get the best care possible, it is essential that you do your best to maintain a good and open relationship with all of your providers.
What we're looking for
Each and every person is going to have specific characteristics that they look for when they are “shopping” for a new provider. But it seems safe to say that most patients are looking for the same core things.
We all want a provider who is knowledgeable in his or her field of expertise, listens to concerns, has the ability to explain medical concepts cleary so everyone can understand, and spends as much time as each patient needs with each visit. We also want someone who we can be honest with, without judgment. While these seem as characteristics that every provider should possess, sadly they aren’t.
Tips for growth
Just like in every relationship, our provider-patient relationships take work from both ends. That being said, we can only do our part. So what can we do to improve patient-provider relationships? Let’s take a look at the following tips!
Go into each appointment with an open mind
When seeing a new provider or someone you've seen before, it is important to face each and every appointment with an open mind. Even if you have a treatment plan in mind, go and listen to what your provider has to say. It may not change your mind but it is good to at least listen to the options that are out there.
Give providers the same respect you demand
It is essential that you give your providers the same respect that you demand. If you expect your provider to listen to what you have to say and your thoughts. Then you need to do the same for them. If you are rude and condescending and talking over your provider you can’t expect them to not do the same in return. They are people too.
Be honest with your provider from the get-go
Your provider can not properly treat you if you are not open and honest about your symptoms and the medications that you take. Withholding important information from your provider can actually put your life at risk. So it is just best to be completely honest from day one. This also applies 5 years in if you feel like you don’t like the treatment plan. Be honest. Let your provider know so that you can have an honest conversation and decide what the best treatment option is for you.
Track your symptoms
Throughout the years I spent working in the medical field, alongside many different providers, I found that they often respond better when they have actual data they can look at. By tracking your most common and bothersome symptoms every day you are giving them the data they need to develop the best treatment plan. This can be done quickly and easily by jotting down your most frequent and bothersome symptoms every day. As well as your pain level in some kind of notebook. Make sure to take the notebook to your next appts so they can see what has been happening since your last visit.
Second opinions are always okay
There are going to be times when you just simply do not mesh with a provider and that’s fine. Just like in everyday life, there are going to be people whose personalities don’t mesh with yours. So in cases like that, it is best for you and your health for you to move on and find a new provider.
Just like any relationship, the patient-provider relationship can be complex and ridden with challenges but also rewards if navigated correctly. Also like most relationships, they require a little effort on both sides. Being open, organized, honest, and respectful are the fundamentals for good working relationships under most circumstances.
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