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5 Tips For Improving Patient-Provider Relationships

When you live with chronic conditions one of the most important aspects of your care is the relationship you have with your providers. That can also be one of the most contentious and frustrating parts of your care. In order for you to get the best care possible, it is essential that you and your providers have a good and open relationship. That being said, there are several key elements to having a good relationship with your provider.

What we look for in providers

Most patients are looking for a provider who is knowledgeable in their field of expertise, listens to patient concerns, has the ability to explain medical concepts clearly in lay terms, and spends as much time as is necessary with each patient visit. Most people are also looking for a provider that they feel like they can be honest with, without judgment. While these things may seem like things every doctor should do with every patient, that just isn’t the case.

5 tips for patient-provider relationships

Just like our relationships with anyone else, our patient-provider relationships require work from both ends. But we can only do our part. So what can we do as patients to improve our provider-patient relationships?

1. Go into each appointment open-minded

It is very easy to go into an appt closed off and frustrated due to the way the last appt went. But in doing so you put yourself in the position to have another bad appt. By going into the appt with an open mind, it allows you to really listen to the provider and hear what they have to say.

2. Give providers the same respect you demand they give to you

It is essential that you give your providers the same respect that you demand. If you are talking over your provider, or not listening to what they have to say. Why should they feel that they have to listen to you, or give you time to explain yourself?

3. Be honest with your provider from the get-go

Your provider can not properly treat you if you are not open and honest about your symptoms, and the medications that you take. Withholding important information from your provider can actually put your life at risk. So it is just best to be completely honest from day one. This also applies 5 years in if you feel like you don’t like the treatment plan, be honest. Let your provider know so that you can have an honest conversation and decide what the best treatment option is for you.

4. Track your symptoms

Throughout my years in the medical field, I learned that providers often see things more clearly when they can actually see data. Especially when it comes to treating those of us with invisible illnesses. If you can keep track of you the big issues or problems for your condition like pain level, your daily weight, your blood glucose level. Whatever it may be and document it daily and take it to each appointment so they can see it. This gives them actual data to base their treatment plan off of.

5. Second opinions are always okay

If you feel like you and your provider are at the point where you can no longer work together or you just don’t see eye to eye. Getting a second opinion is always acceptable. We are not always going to mesh well with everyone we meet and the same goes for our medical team as well. Sometimes our personalities just don’t mesh well with those on our medical teams.

Effort on both sides

Just like any relationship, the patient-provider relationship can be complex and ridden with challenges but alternately rewards if navigated correctly. Also like most relationships, they require a little effort on both sides. Being open, organized, honest, and respectful these are the fundamentals for a good working relationship under most circumstances.

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