We all have things that we look for in a healthcare provider. At the top of most peoples’ lists is a provider who is a good listener. We rightly assume that someone who takes the time to listen to us will probably also take the time to care about us and think about what we really need.
When our providers are prepared to listen to us, of course, we need to be prepared to tell them what they need to know. Here are a few of the questions that every provider is likely to ask:
What medications are we taking?
Usually there will be a prescription list on the medical office computer. However, if we are taking medications that were prescribed somewhere else, these may not be on the office system. It’s best to arrive with a list of what we’re taking or, better yet, the actual pill bottles themselves. This way the doctor will be able to see how much we are taking and how often we are taking it. Your Patient Portal, “One Stop Shop” for Medication Info | Rush Memorial Hospital
What chronic health conditions, if any, do we have?
It’s great if our only problem is the one that brought us into the office. However, as we get older, we often have other health problems as well. If we have high blood pressure, diabetes or any other chronic health condition, we need to let our provider know about it. This information is called our “patient history”.
What are our symptoms?
We are the only people who know how we feel when we are sick. Our doctor depends on us to explain what symptoms we are having. Are in pain? Are we vomiting? How long have we been sick? What makes it better? What makes it worse?
Once we explain our patient history, our current medications and our symptoms, the doctor can decide which lab tests, if any, need to be run. He or she can decide what condition we have, and what medications, if any, we may need.
Has anything changed since our last appointment?
If we have seen a provider before, you may assume that he or she already knows the answers to all of these questions. It’s easy to overlook changes in our symptoms, or the fact that we have stopped taking one of our medications. It’s important to go over the above questions in our own minds, so that we can remember to mention any changes.
Do we understand?
Specialists of every kind have their own lingo, and healthcare providers are no exception. Before leaving your appointment, you should ask your doctor about anything you did not understand or have questions about. Before you go home, you will need to understand your doctor’s instructions. If you don’t, you won’t be able to follow them. Be sure that you know what to do and how to do it once you’re back home.
What if our provider is not a good listener?
If our provider is not a good listener, then it’s probably time to get a new one. Someone who doesn’t take the time to listen probably won’t take the time to meet our other patient needs.