Collaborative Care: Enhancing Patient-Provider CommunicationPublished on Thursday, August 17, 2023 by
Taking Charge of Your Health: Tips for Communicating with Your Healthcare Provider
The patients' participation in establishing the diagnosis, treatment plan, and management is critical to improve and reduce their anxiety during all phases of the disease.
Proactive patients who actively participate in their process and take ownership of their health may have more positive outcomes than those who deny their disease and do not actively participate in their health.
One of the factors that influence significantly is the anxiety generated during the different phases of the disease, such as the appearance of symptoms, evaluation, diagnosis, treatment phase, evolution, and the outcome phase, be it recovery, disability, or death.
Maintain proper communication with healthcare providers.
One of the main avenues to reduce illness-related anxiety is effective communication with the staff caring for you.
You must be informed of the entire process. This way, you can participate as part of the decision-makers. This communication can be both verbal and written. Fortunately, due to the technology that health systems have implemented, patients can communicate directly with their treating physicians and auxiliary personnel.
The communication tools include internal messages in health insurance applications, video calls, immediate attention, etc. They allow the doctor to provide help faster and more efficiently without the patient having to mobilize and wait long hours.
When you receive written information, take the time to read it and understand it. Once you receive it, ask for a verbal explanation; it will be much easier to understand it once you reread it in the tranquility of your home. DO NOT omit this information.
Find out information from reliable sources.
Currently, there is multiple information available. However, it is difficult to establish where to obtain this information because untrained people generate misinformation.
Information must come from health personnel, universities, and government agencies to know that data is reliable. But contact your healthcare provider first. They have all the necessary information to help you. They have your medical record and test results and know what treatment you are following. With all this available information, it is easier for them to resolve your doubts than anybody else.
On the internet, look for information from health personnel from clinics and hospitals with their portals available to the general public. Remember that the information you receive there is generic and based on the disease, not on an individual, which is you.
Seek the help of other health professionals.
It is important to note that you can request the help of other health professionals in this process, including dietitians, physical therapists, and psychologists.
Many people think they should only go to a psychologist if they have a mental illness or a family problem, but feeling anxiety due to the illness is an important reason to seek help. During the process of managing a chronic disease, managing stress, anxiety, and depression secondary to the disease is essential to achieve comprehensive management and achieve the desired recovery.
An illness can also be stressful for the whole family; couples often experience complicated situations during this process, so do not hesitate to include your family and partner in the psychological therapy process.
Have a primary doctor in charge of your health.
There are multiple options in health care; you can choose to have a primary doctor who refers you to different specialists or to seek direct help from specialists.
I suggest having a doctor who can coordinate all of your health care, one with whom you can have a long-term relationship. I understand that with the current systems, this is more challenging. Still, it is not impossible, and if you can achieve a relationship that allows them to understand your problem and work to find the best possible solution.
When you can look for a specialist directly, on many occasions, you find that the problem you have ends up being handled by different people who need a point of connection, making comprehensive management difficult.
Additionally, you are free to look for the doctor you feel comfortable with, confidently, and with whom you can communicate fluidly. Not necessarily the doctor who tells you what you want to hear, but the one you perceive as suitable and who is aligned with your goals.
Create a diary.
Write down what you feel, what worries you, and what doubts you have so that you can transmit this information to your doctor. When patients communicate with their doctor, they often forget all the essential details when establishing a correct diagnosis and treatment.
The patient's participation in diagnosis, treatment, and recovery is essential. For this, comprehensive management, including managing anxiety that occurs with any disease, should be a priority for the doctor and the patient.
Generating a good relationship between the doctor and the patient is critical to achieving fluid communication that generates enough confidence in the patient to empower themselves with their health and achieve success in their recovery.
- American Psychological Association. (2013). Coping with a diagnosis of chronic illness https://www.apa.org/topics/chronic-illness/coping-diagnosis
- CDC. (Dec 2021). Principles of Epidemiology | Lesson 1 - Section 9 Natural History and Spectrum of Disease https://www.cdc.gov/csels/dsepd/ss1978/lesson1/section9.html