Putting Your Health First: How to Turn Your Healthcare Provider Into a Partner
By: Cohen, Placitella & Roth @ Apr 25, 2017
Your health, and the care that you receive to protect it, is essential to your wellbeing, longevity, and perhaps even your happiness. Too often, however, we take a backseat to our doctors’ decisions, and simultaneously allow our doctors to overlook our individual needs; we are not all alike, and yet medical decisions are often cookie-cutter and uniform in nature.
When you are struggling with a serious health concern – such as the author of a recent article published in Philly.com, Claire Snyman, who was diagnosed with a brain tumor – you need more than a doctor: you need a partner.
Turning Your Doctor Into Your Partner
As explained by Snyman, you should never “doubt the importance of being a real partner” with your doctor. Here are some tips she provides for turning your doctor into a partner and collaborating with your healthcare provider in order to achieve the best health outcome–
- Tell your doctors you want to work with them. Too often, patients fail to speak up when it comes to expressing to their doctors that they want to be involved in the process of making decisions about their health (in fact, some patients are very comfortable sitting on the sidelines while the doctors call the shots). While the doctor is certainly the expert, tell your doctor that you want to know your options and work to find the best solution. Make it clear you want to be involved.
- Know your history. A big part of being involved in your own health and wellbeing is being able to talk to any medical professionals you see in an informed manner about your health. For this reason, you should keep thorough medical records, write down any medications you’re taking, and thoroughly document symptoms.
- Speak up with something feels off. One of the biggest mistakes that patients make when seeking healthcare and medical treatment is to keep silent. Ask questions, report symptoms, and speak up if something feels off. You know your body better than anyone, so if something doesn’t feel right or you are concerned about a side effect you’re having or a doctor’s prescribed treatment, say something about it. If your doctor doesn’t provide you with a satisfactory answer, do not be afraid to seek a second opinion.
Snyman also recommends putting together a list of questions in the days leading up to medical appointments, treating your appointment like a business meeting with a specific objective in mind, and speaking to your doctors about the aspects of your health that you want to know more about.
Protecting Your Health with Strong Medical Relationships
Not only may being proactive about your health and your treatment by working more intimately with your healthcare providers lead to enhanced longevity and comfort with treatment options, but it may also help to prevent against medical practice too. In fact, an article in The New York Times suggests that in order to reduce the number of malpractice suits, doctors should talk to patients more.
By talking to your doctor and being an active participant, you can protect your health. Next time you go to the doctor, go prepared. But if you think you are the victim of medical malpractice, don’t hesitate to reach out to the attorneys at Cohen, Placitella & Roth, P.C. for assistance in investigating whether you are entitled to compensation.