Friday, March 19, 2010

Health Care Reform: What Is Your Role?

Health care reform has passed and now we will begin to see the implementation. What does this mean for you? What is your role in health care? Well how about starting with a visit to your doctor? Our actions during an office visit to our physician can have an enormous impact on the quality of our care.

Really for any visit to the physician there are four actions to keep in mind.

1. Have the right mindset.

The reality is in most cases that you will have 18 minutes or less time with your physician. Don’t expect more. . With this limited time you need to be ready to hit the ground running once you get in there. One of the most important actions that you will need to take is to describe your symptoms to your doctor. The more accurately and succinctly you can describe your symptoms the more productive the visit is going to be.

2. Know your medications.

Bring a list of your medications or bring your medications with you.

3. Accurately report your symptoms.

For each symptom you may be having- be it pain, or fatigue, or nausea, be able to report the following:

When did the symptom start?
How long has it lasted?
Have there been any changes?
What makes it better or worse?

4. Prioritize your questions and concerns.

It’s easy to forget things once you are in the exam room so jot down any questions you may have and put a star by the ones you want to make sure you get to.

A visit to your physician is an active event. These 4 actions will help you work with your physician as a team, the better the communication, the better you are going to do.

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