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Make the Most of Your Next Medical Visit

Chris_Hyer_blogAs a physician assistant and chief advanced practice officer at Village Medical™, I have seen how important it is for patients to participate in their own health care decisions. When you are actively involved, you are more likely to understand what is going on with your health, what the potential outcomes are and what treatment options are available to you. This understanding can lead to informed decision-making, improved adherence to treatment plans and better results. However, some people are unsure how to best speak with their doctor or advanced practice provider* (APP) about their health which makes it hard for them to take an active role in making health care decisions. With that in mind, here are some tips on how you can get involved in your next medical visit. 

1. Prepare for Your Appointments.

Before your medical appointment, make a list of concerns, symptoms and questions you want to discuss during your visit. By doing this, you can make sure that all your important issues are addressed, and nothing is forgotten. You should also consider keeping a health diary to keep track of your symptoms, medications and any changes in your health.  

2. Talk openly and honestly.

It is important to share all your symptoms and concerns. This allows your doctor or APP to better understand your condition and how it is affecting you and your life, which can lead to improved care.

3. Ask Questions.

Don't hesitate to ask questions if something is unclear. Your doctor or APP are the best resource to explain your condition and treatment options. Be sure to also ask them if they have any patient education materials about your condition you can take with you.

4. Participate Actively in Decision Making.

Discuss with your doctor or APP all treatment options available to you, including the pros and cons of each treatment. Once you understand your options, make sure to express your preferences on which treatment plan you wish to pursue.

5. Build a Trusting Relationship.

A strong patient-doctor/APP relationship contributes to better health outcomes. Having respect, trust, and good communication between you and your doctor or APP will make it easier for you to speak about your health concerns and more actively engage in making decisions concerning your health.

It is important to remember that you are a partner and participant in your own health care. By taking an active role in your health, you can improve your understanding of your health, have better health outcomes and create a more satisfying healthcare experience.  

*An advanced practice provider is defined as a nurse practitioner or physician assistant. 

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