Here are a few Top Tips on building a healthy partnership with your doctor and getting the most out of your doctor’s appointment.
Your goals are three-fold. The first is to build healthy partnerships with every member of the medical team involved in your care, generating mutually respectful relationships—this investment in relationship building will pay off generously as you navigate your healthcare journey. The second is to demonstrate that you are knowledgeable about your body and your medical history and that you can articulate your current issues well. The final goal is to set and achieve “walk away” objectives for your appointments—with an action plan and next steps to resolve your current issues.
Importantly: know that you are the expert in your body, while the doctor is the expert in medical knowledge about the body. Ideally, you will work in partnership to address your health issues.
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A recent Institute of Medicine (IOM) report warns that most Americans will experience a “meaningful diagnostic error” at least once in their lifetime—sometimes leading to “devastating consequences”. While good metrics on diagnostic errors have yet to be developed, the report estimated that diagnostic errors:
• Affect 5% of US adults seeking outpatient care every year;
• Account for 6 to 17% of adverse events in hospitals; and
• Contribute to 10% of patient deaths.
Modern medicine is complex—with scientific advances in molecular diagnostics leading towards ever more personalized and precision-based medicine. It seems almost counter-intuitive that the diagnostic process can be as fallible as it appears; the report reinforces the view that we each need to be able partners with our doctors to reduce the likelihood of diagnostic errors. Continue Reading