Doctors are busy, and they also try to be diplomatic. So doctors, like the rest of us, aren’t always completely forthcoming. Reader’s Digest recently interviewed doctors and commissioned a wide-scale survey to find out what they are really thinking, and what they would like us, their patients, to know.
Here is the top 10 list of things our doctors would really like us to know:
1. “Tell me the truth. If you are not taking prescription medication as directed, just let me know.”
A recent study shows that one out of five prescriptions are never filled, and half of the prescriptions that are filled are not taken according to directions.
As a patient, you may be embarrassed to tell your doctor you didn’t follow through with his advice. But doctors can’t made good decisions going forward unless they have good information.
2. “If you will be late or have to miss an appointment, contact my office right away.”
When a patient is late, the doctor has less time to spend with you. One patient’s tardiness can also push the whole schedule forward, and impact other patients. You hate waiting for the doctor; don’t keep everyone else waiting for you.
3. “Let me know about any alternative therapies you are using.”
It is estimated approximately two-thirds of patients now take some form of nutritional supplements such as vitamins and herbs. Many of these products have interactions with the treatment your doctor may recommend, so he needs as much information as possible in order to treat you effectively.
As a patient, you may worry your doctor won’t approve of your choices. But to help him do his job, don’t keep him in the dark about treatments you are pursuing on your own or with alternative practitioners.
4. “You really need to lose weight.”
More patients than ever come to the doctor’s office with complaints that are at least partially attributable to excess weight. Obesity is not just about how appearance; it puts you at risk for cancer, heart disease, diabetes, depression, and more than thirty other conditions.
Most overweight people know they should lose weight, but they keep pushing it to the back of their mind. Your doctor wants to be your health partner. Ask for his or her ideas to help you drop that extra weight, and follow through.
5. “Tell me what is worrying you at the beginning of the appointment, not the end.”
Patients are often apprehensive, but reluctant to confront the real source of their worry. So as a patient, you may present with a lesser complaint, and only start talking about the real issue in the last five minutes of your visit. That’s not fair to your doctor, or to you. Let your doctor give you the time you both need to explore your biggest concerns.
Many doctors say they’d like patients to give them the list of worries, and let them prioritize. You may have to return to complete the list, but you and your doctor will both know any potentially dangerous complaints will be dealt with first.
Don’t miss Part 2 of this series…