Patients only remember 10 to 17% of what they’re told at important doctors’ appointments within 10 minutes of leaving AND doctors tend to interrupt 43 seconds into a consultation. The sicker you are and the more serious the consultation, the bigger the communication gap grows. I coach my clients and their caregivers how to communicate effectively so they’re heard and understood.
Top 10 Tips:
1. Go into appointments in ‘logical’ versus ’emotional’ mode. (Take a moment to ‘pull yourself together’.) You will listen better when you’re logical. This will also help you avoid a diagnosis of depression or anxiety that might cloud your physical diagnosis.
2. Go in prepared with your questions and concerns written down and refer to your list to make sure everything was covered.
3. Take notes or take someone with you to take notes! Go somewhere quiet within minutes of the appointment to fill in the blanks.
4. Keep a binder or folder with all notes, consultations and results. You are entitled to a copy of all doctors’ consultations. Sign up for your test results on myehealth: https://secure.myehealth.ca/. You will need to ask your doctor for copies of any testing done within any hospital walls or you can ask they be sent to you via an Authorization to Release form.
5. Check consultations for accuracy and ask for amendments when there are errors (as per College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC regulations). Errors can haunt your health care forever.
6. Ask questions. Clarify.
7. Treat your doctors with the utmost respect… even when you don’t feel they deserve it. (This can affect all future health care with all future doctors.)
8. Use open body language.
10. Hope that everyone will treat you with respect, honesty and caring but don’t expect it.
Everyone should have someone with them at every important physician consultation in offices and, especially, in the hospital; The older you are, the more important it is you have someone at your side.