Becoming Fully Engaged with Your Health Care.

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How to Be Involved in Your Healthcare Decisions
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Taking Steps to Understanding your Care Plan and Working in Conjunction with your Doctor for an Optimal Outcome.

Patients have the ability to increase their quality of care by simply engaging and having an active voice with their health care provider.  This means getting involved in educating themselves on their diagnosis, understanding their current medical regimen and keeping active notes on progress or changes. During office visits, they should not hesitate to ask questions about their treatments and to be able to express their desired outcome so that they can be given options to help them best achieve those wishes or to help set goals. Having a sturdy role in their own personal health decisions with their doctor increases compliance and a better recognition of the benefit of things such as medication, exercise, and diet recommendations that can improve their well-being.

So how do you do this if you are not the type to chime in during a visit with your doctor? Make notes and do your homework.  Write down questions that you have and bring them with you.  Your doctor is no stranger to seeing a scribbled piece of paper in a patient’s hand or a print out from something they read on the internet or saw in a magazine.  If you are curious about something, just ask.  There is no need to feel embarrassed or any different from any other patient that wants to be involved in their care.

What if the doctor is in a hurry?  Doctors can be busy but they also want to help.  So give them a heads up.  If you know you will need extra time for your visit, let the appointment person know when you make the appointment.  Then, on the day of your exam when the nurse brings you back to the exam room, share your question list with the nurse or let her know so that she can pass that info onto the doctor before he walks into your room.  Sometimes just giving the doctor some preparation time to review your questions helps him to address them within an adequate time frame for both of you.