Communicating with people who work in healthcare can be tricky. If, like me, you had little exposure to the healthcare world growing up, it can be even harder to figure out and discuss what is actually the most pertinent information.
As I've talked about before, making sure that there is an understanding between patient/family and provider on communication methods and the like is crucial to patient success.
When you first mean with your provider and their team, one of the first questions/issues that should be discussed is communication standards and preferences. This includes topics like:
- Do either of you have a preference on utilizing phone calls versus MyChart to communicate non-urgent medical issues, prescription issues, and/or questions?
- Are there any access issues for either of you with some forms of communication (i.e., no computer/internet access, hearing issues, etc)?
- How often do you expect to communicate - only for urgent issues, every month, etc?
- What is the best way to reach each other in the most urgent of circumstances?
Making sure that you communicate any changes - and that your physician does as well - will help keep things running smoothly.
Make sure to always ask questions and take some time to think on and/or research medication or treatment decisions.
Try to separate emotion from the conversation at hand. This will definitely be more difficult in certain situations than in others, but is important at the very least when communicating symptoms.
Let the physician know what, in your mind, the series of events or issues was that led you to seeing them. They often times don't know fully what the complaint may have been when the appointment was set up.
Communication heavily influences our health and our willingness to get help from our care providers. It's up to us to make sure that we've set ourselves up with physicians who are like-minded and can develop a good relationship with us, and vice versa.