Going to the doctor is always stressful, especially if you have medical concerns or worrisome symptoms that something might be wrong. Some people come away feeling like their doctor didn’t really listen to them. Perhaps standard tests were ordered that the patient didn’t consider necessary, or their doctor minimized their concerns about their health. Both scenarios can be upsetting. It’s incredibly frustrating to go to the doctor and feel like you aren’t being heard. There are ways to make sure you’re listened to so you can get the best care possible.
Give Detailed Answers to Questions
If your doctor asks why you’re there, don’t say you have a sore throat. Tell them the details: Your throat has been aching for five days, your voice has gotten raspy, and you feel more tired than usual. The more information, the more likely you will be given the attention you need. If you need to, jot down some notes before your appointment. Timelines and specific details always help. Don’t be shy about going into graphic detail about symptoms, even if you feel uncomfortable talking about pain, discharge, sexual symptoms, or emotional issues. Your doctor can’t fully listen unless you’re giving him full details.
Ask Your Own Questions
Doctors sometimes forget that most people don’t understand the jargon and may not have experience with an illness or procedure. If you don’t understand something, ask them to explain things more clearly. Ask pointed questions and if you need more details, be sure to get them. Don’t be afraid to let your doctor know you need clarification.
Ask your doctor to explain the how and why of tests and treatments. If a medication you haven’t taken before is prescribed, ask how it works, what the side effects are, and why they’ve chosen that medication. If they aren’t willing to answer these questions, they may not be the right doctor for you.
Be Willing to Get a Second Opinion
If your doctor still isn’t listening to you, seek a second opinion. It may be that you and your doctor aren’t a good fit. It’s essential to find a doctor you can communicate well with and who understands you; otherwise, both of you run the risk of being dismissive of each other. You may start to ignore your doctor’s advice out of frustration or mistrust. The doctor may start making assumptions about your health problems that are either dismissive or unhelpful.
How Doctors are Becoming Better Listeners
In recent years, the one-way monologues by some doctors have been replaced with dialogues between patients and their physicians. Part of the change is because doctors realize that their patients know more about their bodies than anyone else. They also recognize their patients are more likely to follow their doctors’ advice if they understand the how and why.
Doctors are often overburdened with paperwork, giving them less time to have honest conversations with their patients. In response to this, many doctors are finding ways to reduce the time needed for paperwork to give more time to their patients. Provider’s Choice Scribe Services allows doctors to use scribes to relieve them of paperwork and routine chart updates. They can then give each patient more individualized attention and spend more time diagnosing and treating them.