How to have a healthy relationship with your health care provider

Posted by Alan Conway MD
January 06, 2014

Alan Conway MDOftentimes, people forget that the relationship between a patient and their health care provider should be a two-way avenue. Doctors can’t help patients fully if they aren’t given all the necessary information. They can only figure out so much from exams, and at some point, they need patients to disseminate what they’re feeling. But the way to obtaining a good relationship with your health care provider isn’t always clear.

Here are some tips to remember when visiting your health care provider:

  1. Consult your provider. Health problems will come up, and when they do, it’s important to consult your health care provider every step of the way. This means talking to them not only when the problem arises, but for follow-up information to ensure that the correct steps are being taken to solve the issue.
  2. Be honest. A lot of the time, health care providers depend on you to be as honest and specific about your health history as possible. They need this information in order to make an accurate diagnosis, so be specific and thorough when giving your provider your health history. 
  3. Medications. Be sure to be honest and specific about any and all medications you’re taking. This includes over-the-counter, supplements and even herbal medications. Your provider will need to know these during the diagnosis process.
  4. Take your prescriptions. It’s important that you take all of the prescribed medication from your provider, even of you feel better before it’s gone. Your provider prescribed this amount for a specific reason, so you’ll want to finish the regiment.
  5. Make a list. You could make a list of written questions to take to your appointment with your provider. This will ensure that you don’t forget to ask about any important issues that you think of before you go in.
  6. If you don’t understand, ask. Sometimes we have a tendency to want to avoid asking too many questions during our visits with providers because we feel we’re being annoying. Providers want you to ask questions when you don’t understand something- this is the only way they’ll know if they need to clarify anything.
  7. Follow advice. If your provider gives you advice concerning your daily routines, its best to follow the advice. These things could concern nutrition or exercise or anything else. There’s a reason your provider is giving you this advice, and following it will help lead you to a healthier lifestyle.
  8. Go in for checkups. Make sure to commit to regular checkups. What counts as “regular” depends upon your age, sex, and medical history. So consult your provider as to how often you should come in for checkups.
  9. Keep open communication. If a medication or treatment isn’t working, make sure to talk to your provider. Having an open line of communication with your health care provider is extremely important to not only maintaining a healthy relationship with your health care provider, but also attaining your health goals.

Maintaining a healthy relationship with your health care provider is extremely important. We all want to be healthy, but sickness is just a reality in life. So having a provider you’re comfortable with can make all the difference.    

Health care providers depend on comprehensive information from patients during visits. We want to know everything. We’re here to help.

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