The thoughts and opinions of a 35 year board certified emergency medicine physician blogging about everyday life, the role technology has played in the emergency department business, and the art of practicing medicine. The times have changed: Health-care IT, EHRs and Meaningful Use!
One of the more interesting interactions between patient and provider occurs when the patient is asked, “What is the problem?” The patient responds with “You’re the doctor,” or “You’ve got my records.”
This scenario highlights the opportunity the consumer has to achieve their goals in a quick, efficient, and potentially inexpensive way.
What can the patient bring to the interview to help the provider “GET IT RIGHT” the first time.
Express your motivation for your visit. Such as:
I'm worried about a "stroke" or a "heart attack"
I need a work excuse
I'm out of meds
My spouse/relative made me come
I need a routine check-up
My concern "runs in the family"
Provide a list of medications – best kept in wallet
Provide a list of allergies
Provide a list of past medical history and surgeries
Share what has worked for you in a similar situation
Don’t be afraid to say… “After Googling my symptoms, I got concerned about X…”
Share your expectations
Write a list of questions you have
Be straightforward with your goals -- it saves a lot of time and money
Reserve the right to say NO THANK You—I just wanted an educated opinion not a lot of tests and consultants.
All that said - and going back to our brief introduction of “you’re the doctor” - what if you reallydon’t know. That is, perhaps something is indeed bothering you, something is not right, but you cannot put your finger on it.
Don’t be embarrassed.
Doctor’s love these sorts of challenges, but they need to work alongside you to be effective at discerning the issues. Just say it that way. “Something is bothering me, something is wrong Doc, but I cannot put my finger on it.” Then, you and the doctor can work together to figure it out. And both of you feel like you have a partner in the discovery process.