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Tips For Great Patient-Provider Communication

Posted on the 21 September 2021 by Livingwithss @livingwithSS

Patient-Provider Communication a two-way street

Quite often, patients with a rare condition experience a variety of complex symptoms. As a result, a visit with your specialist often results in as much confusion by the end of your appointment as you felt when you arrived. Healthcare providers are constantly under pressure to keep patient face time to a minimum, so clear communication is a vital step in understanding your plan of care.

Memory Problems

Your doctor needs accurate information to help you. It's essential patients with short-term memory problems or mild cognitive impairment pre-plan for what they need or expect to learn during their appointment. Gary keeps a small daily notebook that records his vitals, notes about medication or symptom changes, fluctuations in blood pressure, pain levels, and new questions. Without this daily health diary, he is unable to remember the crucial details. Whether an appointment is a few months down the road or tomorrow, there will always be forgotten questions.

Staying on Track

He brings his notebook to every regular office or hospital visit. Physicians find details of problems with dates and times very helpful. It also helps Gary recall a short story of events leading up to a specific incident. For example, I was doing my usual ____ late in the afternoon, and then I was doing ____ when I started to feel______. A detailed explanation is more helpful than My ______hurts. By keeping it brief, you can keep your face-to-face time with your provider on track.

We saw first-hand during an appointment with his sleep doctor. Gary had been rotating through many different APAP masks while trying to find one that would work for him. He searched his diary for answers as the doctor was reviewing specific incidents on his APAP recordings.

Your Physician Isn't A Mind Reader

Unless you speak up, providers can only assume you understood everything they discussed during your visit. How often have you just smiled and shook your head in agreement? Don't allow embarrassment to stop you from asking someone to repeat information as many times as necessary. If you don't, you will return home frustrated and angry because you missed valuable information.

When you visit your healthcare provider, you need to practice practical communication skills. Tru remembering one word before every appointment:


If your healthcare team can become familiar with your specific communication needs, I think you'll find they will appreciate a better understanding of your problems and concerns. In addition, you benefit by becoming an active and informed participant in your plan of care.

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