Through our work with clients undergoing treatment after an accident, we at Grimes Yeoman understand how important it is to communicate well with your medical providers. You are your own best advocate. Doing your homework can make a big difference to how comfortable you feel with your doctor and promote constructive communication with your medical team. Here are some tips for being your own best advocate at your next doctor’s appointment:
- Prepare for Your Appointment
Consider ahead of time what you hope to get out of the appointment. Make a checklist of items you want to go over, starting with the most important. It may also help to make a list of symptoms you are experiencing and questions for your doctor. If English is not your first language, call in advance and ask for interpretation services. If you are having a friend or family member going with, have a conversation with them about what you expect from the appointment. See UVAHealth’s blog post.
- Ask Questions
This is the most important tip. Never be afraid to ask questions of your provider. You are not inconveniencing them by asking questions. If you are not sure how to put all of your questions into words, this post has a list of detailed questions you can ask.
If you want to keep things really simple, the three key questions for you to ask your provider are:
- What is my main problem?
- What do I need to do?
- Why is important for me to do this?
You should also be asking questions of your health insurance. Before you schedule a procedure or make an appointment, you should try to find out from your insurance what your cost will be. If you are intimidated by health insurance jargon, check out this guide to common health insurance terms so you can brush up before give them a call.
Finally, if you are feeling too intimidated to ask your doctor questions, you can ask your attending nurse or utilize your medical provider’s online portal, if available.
- Take Notes
Taking notes will help you remember what was said during your appointment and keep track of the answers you receive to your questions. Feel free to either personally take notes or have a friend or family member present to take notes. You should also ask for copies of any printed materials your doctor uses during your appointment. Keep all of your notes and any other documents from your doctor in a folder or a notebook so you can easily reference them in the future. You may also want to review and save your treatment summary from your medical provider’s online portal.
- Be Honest
First, be honest with yourself. If you are truly dissatisfied with the care you are receiving, you should explore getting a new doctor or provider. Second, be honest with your doctor. If you are uncomfortable with any tests or procedures being done, speak up. Your informed consent is essential to any procedure. You should also be honest about your health and symptoms, so your doctor can fully understand your condition, and treat you accordingly.
After an accident or an injury, the most important thing is your recovery. Hopefully, these tips help you communicate and work with your medical team toward that goal. If you are looking for a firm that can help you navigate the legal process after an accident, please give us a call at (704) 321-4878 or contact us online.