You arrived at your doctor’s appointment as scheduled, took the laboratory tests, and waited for your doctor to have a moment with you to discuss your health concerns. Given your doctor’s busy schedule and long lines of patients waiting outside the door, you would be lucky to have 15 minutes of uninterrupted consultation. In such a case, you need to maximize the time you have to raise important issues, undergo an examination, discuss treatment options, and ask any other questions you may have.
Given the volume of people who visit hospitals and clinics every day, it’s no wonder that so many patients feel that they are not heard by their doctors. If you think about it, they are hardly given enough time.
Recent studies concluded that only 23 percent of patients were given time to finish their opening statements before being interrupted by series of checklists of questions that are sometimes not relevant to what the real concern is all about. It is important to get your doctor to listen and understand your concerns really well. That way, they will be able to prescribe the right kind of treatment for your health concern.
Why doctors need to listen to their patients
Doctors not listening to their patients goes beyond the interpersonal issue. This can have a significant effect on patient care and may contribute to bigger issues from misdiagnosis to medical error. Misdiagnosis may result in unnecessary tests, which may have led you to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars into something that will not actually fix your problems.
How to get your doctor to listen to you
Have you ever visited a doctor but felt ignored and left the clinic wondering if they really understood why you went for a check-up in the first place? When was the last time you left the clinic feeling happy and satisfied knowing your issues were heard properly?
As a patient, you often don’t have enough power when it comes to effective patient-doctor communication—whether in the exam room or even after you leave. There are certain things you can do (and must do) to make sure that your doctor listens to you and address your concerns accordingly.
Before your appointment, do your research. This is the biggest thing a patient can do to maximize their consultation time with their doctor.
Do your due diligence by beginning preparations a few days before your doctor’s visit. Note when certain systems began showing and when you found them to be more severe. Details are crucial, so be thorough, specific, and honest when giving out information. You can keep a list of things and use them to keep your doctor engaged. Start with the most pressing and important issues first.
Prioritize your concerns
You only have a limited time with your doctor, and getting an appointment can be a struggle. It’s easy to find yourself with dozens of questions spilling over once you step foot in the examination room. Bear in mind that doctors are busy people, and they probably don’t have the luxury of time to answer every single question you have. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ask.
Rather than stumbling over your words in your quest to ask every question, prioritize and ask questions in order of importance. What is the most important thing that you want your doctor to explain to you? Doctors and patients can easily get sidetracked, so it is important to stay focused. The list with bullet points of your concerns will be very helpful in making sure you can get everything you need and not miss other major points.
Doctors tend to use technical terms—and this could only lead to confusion when you have no idea what they are talking about. Do not hesitate to ask questions when you are unfamiliar with the terms they are using. Inquire about any proposed treatments that seem unreasonable to you, and most importantly, ask how much the proposed treatment will cost.
Avoid drawing assumptions and leaving the clinic with questions you hesitated to ask.
Remember, your time with your doctor is often very limited. It’s crucial to make every moment count. For quality medical care, contact our team of passionate and well-trained doctors in New Jersey today. We’ll listen!