Trust is the foundation for any healthy relationship, and the relationship between you - the patient - and any medical provider is no different. We not only entrust our medical providers with our health, but sometimes with our life, thus requiring complete transparency, full disclosure, and open dialogue.
The Patient/Provider Relationship
Building a good rapport with your medical provider proves beneficial for the care you receive - mentally, physically, and emotionally - and can help:
gather detailed and relevant patient data, used for diagnosing conditions and formulating treatment plans;
patients to comply with care instructions for their healing after recovery, promoting more complete healing;
figure out the best ways to support and care for the patient;
retain a satisfied patient once care is completed.
A study completed by Harvard Medical School found that while the above factors foster a more open relationship and more personalized care, it also helps to improve the patient’s health itself!
Essential Elements of Any Relationship...
Open, Two-Way Communication
A conversation about your health should never feel rushed, unheard, dismissed, or confusing. Are you open with your provider so they can then take all the information to formulate a diagnosis or further plan?
The Patient’s Role…
No information is embarrassing for medical providers. Instead of feeling embarrassed or intimidated by something that’s going on with your health, feel empowered that you play a vital role in your health care.
Shared Decision Making
Your doctor is your partner in your decision-making regarding treatment. Ask for options, clarity, or whatever else is necessary for you to feel committed to the next steps.
Warm Bedside Manner
Feeling appreciated, respected, and valued during your time with a medical provider is critical, and not just to make you feel good. Research shows the way a doctor communicates with you impacts your level of trust, as well as any anxiety or fear – both of which can impact our bodies physically, as well!
We were not created to “hit it off” and be friends with everyone. Some people are just not compatible. While difficult, it is important to consider your compatibility with your doctor. This affects your communication, relaxation, and trust!
Respect for Patient’s Wishes (Informed Consent)
Your doctor is ethically obligated to consider and respect your wishes as the patient, regardless of their own personal views.
Other tips, including red flags to look for, can be found in this article.
September is Chronic Disease Awareness Month and it is of no coincidence we begin the month by discussing the relationship we have with our doctor(s) or other medical provider(s), as it is that relationship that can lead to diagnoses, treatment plans, and reassurance as we move forward in our health journey. Consider the information above, your satisfaction with your medical providers, and the goals you have for your health. Do you believe you are working with the right healthcare “partner(s)?”