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To get the most out of your healthcare, take an active role. This means thinking of every healthcare provider (HCP) as a partner in your care. Below are things you can do to help that partnership go smoothly.
To get the best possible care, you need to be honest with your healthcare provider.
Your HCP has a limited amount of time to spend with you. Don’t waste time on small talk. If you can’t discuss all your concerns, schedule a follow-up visit.
Keep in mind that your HCP is used to talking about personal matters.
Try not to think about what your HCP said 5 minutes ago or what you will say next.
When you write down what you hear, you listen more carefully. Don’t write down every word your HCP says, just the main points.
When you make eye contact, you show you are listening and you get more out of the discussion.
Try not to cross your arms in front of your body or slouch down in your seat. You send the message that you don’t want to talk.
Say something like “What I hear you saying is...” This shows you are listening and understanding, and gives your HCP a chance to correct any mistakes.
If you can’t make it, call as soon as you know.
When a patient is late for an appointment, it can throw the HCP and his or her staff off schedule.
For some medical tests, you need to fast (not eat or drink). For others, you need to take medication.
Your HCP may give you instructions concerning things such as medication use, diet, or exercise.
Whether your medication makes you sick or you can’t give up junk food, let your HCP know. Together, you may be able to solve the problem.
If you are receiving treatment, ask your HCP which over-the-counter drugs you can take.
Don’t take more or less than your doctor prescribed. Don’t stop taking your medication without talking to your doctor first.
If you are seeing a specialist, ask the specialist to let your primary doctor know how you are doing.
Find out if there are certain times during the day when your HCP takes phone calls. Ask who to call if you need an answer right away.