As February comes to a close, we reflect on the ultimate quest, finding Mr. Dr. Right! Finding the right doctor can make all the difference in your care, but how do you know he/she’s “THE ONE”?? Health Activists gave us tips for finding the right Dr. and maintaining a good relationship in this week’s #HAChat.
Know yourself, know what you want
You know what you’re looking for in Mr. Right, so why is it so different with Dr. Right? While everyone’s care will be a little different, it’s still important to know what you expect out of your relationship with your doctor and to make this clear to them. This comes from knowing yourself and knowing what you need: as ShyDi47 said, “U need 2 know yourself, ask questions also do some research on your dx so u r a step ahead of the Dr. Make yourself look smart.” Your doctor can’t read your mind, so communicating your needs and expectations is key to establishing a good relationship. kimmieCollas says start off right, “on the first appointment, make it clear that you’re looking for someone to work WITH you, not dictate to you.” If you have doubts, or don’t know what you should expect, go to your community. Many Health Activists discuss different healthcare providers within their communities. kimmieCollas continued, “decide what’s most important to YOU in a doc, then “interview” them to see if they might be a good fit.”
He’s just not that into you…
TiffanyAndLupus had it right: “You wouldn’t tolerate a lousy boy/girlfriend so DON’T let your doctor do it either. Take pride in your body & demand the best.” Why would you ever put up with anything but the best care? Why put up with a doctor with great credentials if their attitude makes you feel worse for the wear after an appointment? SickMomma said “I won’t stick with a dr w/lousy bedside manner. Communication is key 4 treating ongoing chronic illness, imo.” Then again, it all comes back to knowing the kind of support you need from your doctor: kimmieCollas shared, “I won’t deal with a rude doctor who treats me like an idiot, but they don’t necessarily have to be all “huggy” either.”
So when is it time to say “enough” and find a new healthcare provider or seek a second opinion?
SickMomma T2: I struggle with knowing when to switch specialists. A sure sign 4 me is when they start losing interest in my symptoms/treatment
TiffanyAndLupus T2: When a doctor is rude; doesn’t follow diagnostic criteria/protocol; & doesn’t value my input as an informed patient I FIRE them!
Sometimes it’s just nice to get a fresh perspective, whether or not you intend to change healthcare providers: SickMomma told us, “Sometimes you need to visit drs outside local community to get a fresh viewpoint. Drs are often leery of contradicting locals.” Remember, you are your best advocate. TiffanyAndLupus: “Key is to not let MD credentials intimidate you. They may have a degree, but they don’t have the experience! We do!”
Getting the Best Care
Getting the best care isn’t just about finding the best doctor. It’s about being an active participant in your care. pamressler shared that, “”Best” care is individual to the person, a HCP needs to understand pts beliefs and values for care that is appropriate and valued.”
The word “relationship” implies that you are also actively engaging with your health care team, not just letting them call the shots. TiffanyAndLupus “It wasn’t until I became chronically ill that I became “hands-on” with my health. It took time but I’m glad I did!” Your doctor may provide you with advice and tools, but how you handle your care is ultimately your decision (kimmieCollas). So speak up, communicate, don’t be afraid to ask questions, and remember:
TiffanyAndLupus Whether you pay for your healthcare or not; it’s called health CARE for a reason. You’re to be cared for not “tolerated”.
March is Health Activists and Healthcare Professionals Month here at WEGO Health and we ant to bring some healthcare professionals into the conversation. Do you know any HCP on twitter or active online? Invite them to next week’s chat!