Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Tips for better communication with your Doctor

As moms we spend A LOT of time at the doctors office.  While we are pregnant we are there for what seems like every week.  Once the baby is born we are not only seeing the ob/gyn, but now the pediatrician.  And don't even get me started on how many times you end up at the doctor with four boys! I don't want to think about how many hours I've spent in the waiting rooms and doctors offices.  But even with all the time we spend at the doctor, many times we don't really TALK to them.   Studies show we actually ask more questions when buying a cell phone than they do during medical appointments.   Oops . . . embarrassing!

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) is launching of a new initiative with the Ad Council to encourage clinicians and patients to engage in effective two-way communication to ensure safer care and better health outcomes.

Here are some suggested questions below to help get you started with better communication with your doc:
  1. What is the test for?
  2. How many times have you done this procedure?
  3. When will I get the results?
  4. Why do I need this treatment?
  5. Are there any alternatives?
  6. What are the possible complications?
  7. Which hospital is best for my needs?
  8. How do you spell the name of that drug?
  9. Are there any side effects?
  10. Will this medicine interact with medicines that I'm already taking?
They have a cool tool called the Question Builder to help you be prepared for your next medical appointment. Create a list of questions that you can take with you whether you are getting a checkup, talking about a problem or health condition, getting a prescription, or discussing a medical test or surgery. Whatever the reason for your visit, it is important to be prepared. With the Question Builder, it is easy.   Another good time saver is the glossary.

There are a couple helpful new videos and other valuable tips and tools available here that truly delve into the importance of very open communication between clinicians and their patients.  The Wall Street Journal recently published an article covering the news.  You can also find the full series of new public service videos featuring real clinicians and patients here
    Ok, so admittedly not the most provocative or entertaining of links and videos, but sometimes life isn't either one of those. Kinda like the excitement of waiting in a doctors office.  But . . . while you wait - why not take a minute and check out these tips on great communication with your doctor before you step into his/her office. You can listen to a mother of 3, Laurri Diener talk about how better communication with her doctor helped her to get the right diagnosis and treatment so that she could sleep more and worry less.   And honestly, what mom doesn't need more/less of those!

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