Seeing a healthcare provider can be overwhelming, confusing, or intimidating for many people. Without experience in the healthcare field, medical information is new and can take some getting used to. Whether you are seeing a new provider, going with a loved one to an appointment, or educating a peer or patient about the process, here are 5 useful tips to understanding any healthcare provider:
- Take Notes. When a lot of information is being given to you, it can prove difficult to retain all of it. Bring a notepad or jot down notes in your phone. Pay attention to key phrases or instructions you will need to follow after leaving your visit.
- Ask Questions. Don’t be afraid to ask questions! If you don’t ask questions, your healthcare provider may assume you understand what is being told to you. If you are uncertain of something, ask clarifying questions.
- Request written instructions and/or resources. It is always useful to have written instructions from your healthcare provider on medications or medical care that is being asked of you to complete. Many healthcare providers have pamphlets or resources they can give you on illness, disease, medications, treatment, etc.
- Bring a loved one or friend. If you are entering an appointment where a lot of information may be given it can be helpful to have another person with you. They can obtain information you may have missed or ask questions you might have overlooked.
- Follow up with your healthcare team. If you are uncertain about an instruction or medical advice that was given, follow up with your healthcare provider. Contact the office or provider and ask for clarification.
For more tips when visiting your healthcare provider and for the resource, check out the National Institute of Health here: https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/what-should-i-ask-my-doctor-during-checkup