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4 Tips for Talking to Your Healthcare Provider

By Kate Gardner

Have you ever been to the doctor and gotten the impression they're not listening? It can be hard to talk to your healthcare provider, especially when you're sick. You may feel like your doctor is dismissing your symptoms or that you're being rushed through your appointment to make room for the next patient. 

The Problem 

If you feel this way, you're not alone. WebMD reports that in a survey of patients and their doctors, 21 percent of patients were happy with the communication during their appointments while 75 percent of the doctors thought things went well! Clearly, patients and doctors aren't always on the same page. 

Research indicates that women may face additional challenges. As part of an ongoing project examining the healthcare experiences of women, Today conducted a survey that found many women have problems talking to their doctors. Thirty-one percent of women said they felt like they had to prove their symptoms to their doctor and 25 percent felt like their reports of pain wasn't taken seriously. 

The Plan

Obviously, every doctor-patient relationship has two people in it. You can't always control how your doctor communicates, but there are some things you can do to boost your chances of success. 

  • Make your doctor a partner - Let your doctor know that you appreciate their expertise and that it's important to work together as a team to achieve your healthcare goals. 

  • Be your body's expert - Your doctor went to medical school, but nobody knows your body like you do. Whether things feel a little off or a problem isn't getting better like it's supposed to, you are going to be the one who knows if something is normal for you or not.  

  • Prepare - Before you head in for an appointment, think about what you want to get out of it. Are you looking for tests and a diagnosis or is there a treatment you'd like to try?  Also, make a list of symptoms, observations, and questions to take to the appointment with you. Sometimes it can be hard to remember everything you wanted to talk about when you're in the exam room. 

  • Ask questions - When doctors recommend tests and treatments, they can forget that you may not know what they're for or how they work. But knowing these things can help you as the patient feel comfortable and confident in your treatment. Don't be afraid to ask your doctors about the tests and treatments they recommend. 

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, visit your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Peachtree Corners, Ga. 

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