5 Steps for a Successful Doctor’s Visit

5 Steps for a Successful Doctor’s Visit

By jefff Published at November 23, 2015 Views 1,274 Likes 1

It can be difficult to get the most out of your short visits with your physician. This is my simple, five-step approach to ensuring your doctor’s visit is a success for both of you, regardless of your issues or problems.

The five steps will also allow you to be adequately motivated and prepared for your visit.

1. Get your physician's attention.

He or she is your audience. Use a form of storytelling to explain what has been happening in your MS life. Use a little humor, quote a shocking statistic, or hit them with a rhetorical question…anything that will get them to sit up and take notice of you.

Remember, they're there for you, so make it worth your while, especially if you travel a far distance or have to inconvenience a friend or family member with your travel arrangements.

2. Ensure you've established the need of your visit/appointment.

Convince him or her there's a problem that only they can resolve or treat. You want the physician to realize that what's happening right now isn't good enough, and it needs to change. Some tips:

Do your homework. Be knowledgeable. Write everything down.
Show him your journal. Everyone should be using by now, and it's never too late to start.
Bring your caregiver if possible. They can be a witness to your symptoms.
Discuss or talk about the consequences of maintaining the status quo and not making changes. Ensure he or she replies to this, especially because it is key to walking out of the office with a smile.
Explain to him or her how the problem directly affects you.

Remember, you're not at the "I have a solution" stage. In this second step, you want to make him or her a little uncomfortable and restless and ready to do something about your issues.

3. Make an attempt at satisfying the real need.

How you help the physician solve the problem or particular issue can be difficult because you're taking on an "I'm responsible role," and that can intimidate the best of physicians. Discuss the facts and share your overall concerns. Elaborate and give details to make sure he or she understands your position as well as a possible solution.

Here, make sure to summarize your issues from time to time as you speak. By using your examples, witness testimonials, and/or the statistics you've researched, you can combat any counterarguments or objections.

4. Try to visualize the coming weeks/months/years.

If you can't describe what you're looking for as an end result, then pose that question to your physician. The more realistic the situation or issue/problem, the better off you'll be in the long run…this is called "vision," and you have to leave the office with that in mind.

Your goal is to be motivated to find a solution in 10 to 15 minutes of "doc time," so choose your words carefully and be as visual as possible. If you do this, the physician will not only respect you as their patient, but they will also work extra hard to ensure you're satisfied with the visit because they now know you're a knowledgeable MS patient and advocate.

5. Leave with action items from the visit.

Ensure you can make them happen either by yourself or with your caregiver. Your final step of the office visit is to leave with some specifics you can do to either solve the issue/problem right away or down the road. Don't become overwhelmed with tasks and duties; sorting out bite-sized action items from the visit is your job!

Also, if you've prepared notes for the visit, try not to overwhelm the physician or all of these steps could be a total failure. Ask for a few action items, and you'll be surprised because they'll most likely want or have more than you can accomplish. Don't worry, that's okay. You have the power to break them down so they’re more manageable.

Follow these five steps, and you'll always win in the doctor's office.

You can also ensure expectations are met on both sides by simply asking, "Is everything okay on your end, or should I be doing something differently?" I love this question, because it actually puts you both in a win-win situation regardless of what is said!

Now, go for it! Make it happen.

jefff

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