Friday
   January 19, 2018

An Apple A Day
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"An Apple A Day"


Orcas Family
Health Center

A Washington State and IRS 501 (c) (3) charitable non -profit corporation


"Apple A Day Articles"

ADULT “CHECK-UPS”

AN APPLE A DAY...FOR WOMEN

COMMUNICATION BASICS

FDA LICENSES NEWVACCINE FOR PREVENTION OF CERVICAL CANCER

GETTING THERE FROM HERE

LEMONS AND LYMES

NO MERCY FROM MRSA

ONE FLU OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST

PROSTATE CANCER SCREENING

TO ERR IS HUMAN

COMMUNICATION BASICS

Mistakes made by doctors, a very human condition, was the topic of our last column. Studies have shown that poor communication between doctor and patient is a major contributor to unwanted negative outcomes. Clearly as the old saw goes “communication goes both ways” so we are not pointing fingers at either party but hope to provide some tips to enhance a patient’s encounter with their doctor.

MAKE THE RIGHT APPOINTMENT. Be clear when you call the office to schedule a visit. Our receptionists are very skilled at allocating the proper amount of time for a visit if the purpose is fully understood. Your problem may be simple or more complicated. Convey your needs and expectations when you call for the appointment. If there is a “hidden agenda” ask for the proper amount time to allow you to bring it up. If you run out of time, make a follow up appointment.

MAKE LISTS. Think through the goals of your visit ahead of time. Write a list of your concerns and questions and don’t forget to bring it with you. While at it, make a list of all medications you take including nonprescription and herbal. Ask for and bring old records if they have a bearing on the presenting problem. Unfortunately, the face to face visit with a doctor may occasionally be intimidating and potentially rushed. Having a clear idea in mind prior to the visit is extremely helpful. Many patients come in with lists of questions which definitely results in the visit being much more productive.

TAKE NOTES AND ASK QUESTIONS. During the evaluation many issues may be raised that get lost in the complicated process of taking the history and performing the examination. One study showed that patients retained less than 50% of the information given them at a doctor’s visit. Taking notes and asking questions will allow you to review the recommended treatment plan and clarify any misunderstanding that may arise at a later time. We have a large amount of patient education material; ask for all the information you need to feel comfortable with instructions. Also, be assertive. If you don’t feel your needs are being fully addressed, say so.

FOLLOW UP. This is probably the most critical for a successful outcome. On reflection, if there was something you did not understand—call back with questions. If you cannot comply with the recommended treatment plan, let your doctor know. If things are not going as anticipated, make a follow up appointment to discuss it. Medical conditions may change in unexpected ways, and the human body and diseases are incredibly complex. When all is not going well patients may seek advice from many resources—family, friends, other health professionals, even the Internet. Unexpected changes in symptoms should properly be addressed with the original treating physician. Reevaluation may include more testing and may clarify the diagnosis and proper treatment. If you are still dissatisfied after follow up, tell the doctor. Explain your concerns so you can be assisted in a referral to another physician or specialist.

Comments on this or any of our columns can be made by calling 376-7778.


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1286 Mt. Baker Road, Suite B102 • POB 1055 • Eastsound, WA 98245 • 360-376-7778