The adage says “the customer is always right”. But what if the customer is a patient?

There seems to be a lot in the news lately about patients being afraid to speak openly to their doctors. Why is it that well-spoken people often get tongue-tied when they become patients? Those who in a restaurant would send a meal back to the kitchen without reservation are often reluctant to express their views in medical situations and instead accept what is offered.

I feel like I’m the exception to the rule. Whether it was taking care of my late father, accompanying my mother to her doctor appointments or being a patient myself, I’ve always had a sense that the doctor is providing a service which includes a reasonable back-and-forth dialogue.

I understand the time crunch involved in the lives of doctors. The limited time available in a medical appointment is hard on doctors and can be intimidating (and frustrating) to patients.

What if as patients we showed up prepared for dialogue, just like we do as customers in other situations? It might make for a more productive meeting if our health data, questions and concerns are readily on hand.

Emergency situations may preclude being prepared – but only to a point. We can still have our health data organized and with us.

Feeling prepared may also allow for greater confidence to speak openly…. and who knows, maybe the patient-doctor exchange will become just a little easier.

By Alexandra Yperifanos
ExpressWell, Inc.

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