We All Deserve to Have Good Doctors,
but Doctors Deserve to Have Good Patients!
Are YOU A Good Patient?
Any time we visit a healthcare professional, we are most often concerned about staying healthy or getting better from the condition that plagues us at the time. As part of that process, many of us spend a lot of time asking friends or family for referrals, visiting websites, reading reviews, and making sure we are comfortable with the professional and their office staff…after all, who doesn’t want a good doctor?
We expect a lot from our doctors, but it’s a two-way street. In thinking about what it takes for your healthcare provider to meet your expectations, it is just as important to think about what it takes to be a good patient. Being a good patient means more than just sticking out your tongue and saying “aaaaaah!” As a patient, you should have an active interest in your care and treatment. Ask yourself this question, “How can I be the best patient for my doctor?” Here are some tips:
- Share Your History – Healthcare histories can sometimes be complicated. While no one would expect a patient to understand each and every detail, keeping careful records of your medical health, procedures, medications, etc. can be helpful in planning treatment plans.
- Be On Time & Courteous – This one seems like an easy one. While healthcare providers are infamous for running behind, sometimes it is because a patient arrived late; and in the spirit of wanting to care for the sick (and tardy), the traffic jam in the waiting room ensues. Also, doctors and their staff are there to help and should be treated with the same level of respect expected as patients.
- Know Your Rights – The patient/provider relationship is a privileged one and is definitely a two-way street. Knowing your rights means taking the time and feeling free to ask questions about any aspect of your care, including obtaining and sharing a second opinion.
- Be Knowledgeable About Your Insurance – Paying for healthcare can be a confusing maze with foreign and technical jargon. It’s even more complicated than ever! While your doctor’s office can assist you with understanding the complexities and nuances of insurance billing guidelines, it is important to start by taking the time to understand your policy in order to avoid unpleasant surprises.
- Follow-up – Part of being a good patient is following the course of treatment agreed upon by you and your doctor. While this follow-up might be inconvenient or difficult, following the advice and recommendations of your doctor has been shown to improve clinical outcomes – the very reason for your visit.
We all deserve to have doctors who respect, encourage, and support our desire to be vigilant about our health. But doctors also deserve good patients who are willing to work with them in partnership to improve their health. So ask not what your doctor can do for you, but what you can do for your doctor!