Open Dialogue with your Doctor
Questions. A fundamental aspect of any conversation. Asking questions can help you feel at ease and bring clarity to any discussion. And one person you’ll really want to be sure that you’re asking questions of is your doctor.
While we previously discussed the role of patient engagement, asking your doctor questions is a continuation of that conversation. While R-Health doctors have the patient’s best interest in mind, sometimes messages can be lost in translation, or otherwise misconstrued, which is why questions are needed for clarity. Too often patients go along with a plan without having a full understanding, which can ultimately cause the plan to fail. Thus, TIME provided a list of things you should be asking your doctor.
- “What are the different treatment options?” – Regardless of your condition, there should be a shared decision-making process about your options.
- “What outcome should I expect?” – Knowing outcomes may impact your decision on moving forward with a treatment and/or which option to choose.
- “Do we have to do this now, or can we revisit later?” – Gives your doctor more time to consider the severity of an ailment, which may halt pre-mature action. Some health issues work themselves out with time. Others need to be addressed sooner.
- “Is there anything I can do on my own to improve my condition?” – Making changes to your lifestyle can be very important. If you treat your body correctly, it pays you back with good health.
- “What are the side effects?” – Patients should know of possible side effects ahead of time so they can factor them into their decision-making on the course of treatment and/or what to expect from it.
- “How will I hear about my test results?” – If not explicitly stated, it’s important for the patient to know how they will receive test results to prevent uncertainty and anxiety.
- “How much will this cost me?” – There are many uncertainties regarding cost due to insurance, different tests or medications, etc. Therefore, it’s important to ask in order to financially prepare for that commitment.
- “What questions haven’t I asked that I should have?” – Sometimes amid asking your doctor questions, he or she may forget to mention a discussion topic they wanted to introduce. Therefore, this question can help serve as a reminder for the doctor, and get you more information.
Questions don’t always have to be this heavy. But at R-Health, we want to foster an opening and trusting dialogue between our doctors and patients. Take the initiative. Ask for help. Get your questions answered. You have tremendous access to your R-Health doctor, whether by phone, email or other electronic media. Your R-Health team is willing and able to answer any questions you may have.