Communicating With Your Doctor, The Doctor Patient Relationship
One of the cornerstones of good patient care is effective doctor-patient communication. Very few doctors, or patients, are ever given any training on how to help that happen, however. The following talking points are meant to serve as tools to assist in communication with your doctor. Why not read this survey to help identify how you communicate!
1) Do you have a hearing problem? If so don’t assume that your doctor will know. Tell him!
2) Do you see well? Most people assume your vision is good, unless told otherwise. Many people use visual aids to help their explanations. If you don’t see well, say so!
3) Which shape do you relate to the most (check one):
Did you know that triangles like to get right to the point, squares wont understand you until the box is completely filled, circles may take a long time to get to the point and that squiggles just assume that you like hear bits and pieces of the story at a time. Which are you? Maybe communication will be better if you know what shape the person you are talking to is (so that you know how they listen).
4) When speaking, the first thing I tell is the (check one):
A triangle needs to know what the headline is before he can make the story have meaning (not unlike knowing what section of the newspaper you are reading). The square needs to know all of the details, or it is as if none of them were given. Since the time for an office visit often isn’t as long as either the doctor or the patient would like it, make sure he knows the closing point quicker instead of later. If why your complaint is as important to you as the complaint itself, try and be in touch with yourself enough to both be aware of it and secure enough with yourself to share the setting with your doctor. Communicating With Your Doctor
5) When my doctor listens, his/her listening style prefers to hear which of the following first (check one):
Did you assume that the person you are speaking to listens and thinks the way you do? Might not communication be more effective if you were able to speak to the listener in a way that helps them the most?
6) I prefer a medical model that is based upon (check one):
__My remaining in control
__Shared decision making
__Informed involvement with physician directed care
__Physician directed care
In the end which ever answer is right for you, go to your doctor’s visit prepared. Know what you want to say (even if you have to write it down or bring someone else with you) and let the doctor know which model of health care you are most effective with.
7) Health care is (check one):
__An opportunity to get well
Some patients have “white coat syndrome”. Just thinking about going to the doctor is frightening. If you know that is the case, bring someone with you to both keep you calm and help you remember what was said.
8) I care more about (check one):
__What is done for me
__How it is delivered
Quite often people care about how the visit went more then the outcome. Maybe they were told something they didn’t want to hear. Maybe they experienced “thwarted wanting” (they did not get what they want). Others don’t care about any of that. They just want get well the rest is irrelevant. Knowing what is most important to you before your visit will help you know he difference between what you want and what is a reasonable expectation.
While there is no single method of communication that is effective for all people, and all situations, just having thought about it before a visit can be very helpful for both the patient and doctor.