Your communication with your doctors is at the heart of receiving proper care. Make your doctor visits a more positive experience with clearer communication.

Try these strategies:
  1. Understanding the importance of communication. If you can’t share what is happening with your doctor, then how can you ensure you’re getting the best care?
    • It’s important to discuss symptoms and other issues with your doctor.
    • Both sides benefit from better communication because it makes diagnosis and treatment easier. It also makes following the treatment plan a more simple process. 
    • Patients who have better communication with their medical professionals report higher satisfaction with their care and are more positive about their chances of getting better. 
    • Patients feel empowered to ask questions and get involved in their own health. 
  1. Using a small notebook. A small notebook can be a powerful tool for communication. 
    • Write down your questions before a medical appointment. This will help you remember the important points you want to ask and make the process easier. 
    • The notebook can also be useful during the appointment. You can write down new questions and ensure you get your doctor’s instructions. 
    • After an appointment is over, the notebook can be a useful tool for going over what your doctor said. It can help you remember ideas such as new diet information or pill changes. 
  1. Using a big binder. Unlike the notebook, the big binder has a different purpose. 
    • The binder is a good storage option for lab results, articles, and pamphlets. It can help you organize your treatment plan. 
    • The binder is good for keeping track of your overall health. 
  1. Using others during an appointment. Bring a friend or loved one with you to your doctor appointments. 
    • Does your doctor ignore you? Do you have trouble communicating your needs? Are you too shy to handle everything? A friend or loved one can be your voice during an appointment and speak for you. 
    • They can also help you remember information from your appointment. 
  1. Using research. Before and after your medical appointments, you can do research to help you understand treatments, drugs, and other plans. 
    • It’s important to get valid information from legitimate sources, so avoid unverified websites that seem to be designed to only sell you something. There are many legitimate university, government, and hospital websites for research. 
    • You can use the research to communicate better with your doctors because it will help you understand medical terms and issues. 
  1. Using the phone. If you have trouble confronting the doctor in the office, use the phone.
    • Do you struggle to speak your mind in front of your doctor and have regrets after the appointment is over? Do you have a lot of questions you wish you had asked before the doctor left the room?
    • If you struggle with speaking to your doctor in the office, then consider calling them and asking for help. You can explain your issues and ask the questions you want.
    • Good communication doesn’t have to be limited to an office setting, so you can find help through the phone. You can also use email to communicate with your doctors. If they’re okay with it, a video conferencing call is another way to get the answers you want and need.

Communication is at the heart of any solid relationship with your medical professional. You can improve your communication with simple steps that will help both you and your doctor.