Talking to your Doctor

By Adem Lewis / in , , /

The road to health is a two way street, and healthy communication with your doctor and other health care
professionals can help prevent traffic jams, close calls, and even accidents. Preparing for your medical visit is important,
and you can learn more about that in the previous video in this series. This video can help you navigate and avoid
speed bumps, congested intersections, and construction zones in your health care
by making the most of your medical visit. We all have things we’d rather not discuss: sexual activity, alcohol or drug use,
or perhaps other sensitive topics. But being open and honest with
health care professionals can make a real difference in your health. [DR. MATTHEW MEMOLI]
If you’re making the effort to go see the physician, then you should try to get the
most out of the visit that you can. Even in a short visit—and we know that
today’s doctor visits can often be very short due to some of the restraints—you can get a lot
out of those visits, but that only happens if you’re willing to freely discuss
whatever the issues are with your physician. And it really shouldn’t matter what those
are. Every physician has heard just about everything in the course of
practice; we hear lots of different issues, and our job is not to judge; our job
is to help people lead functional lives. [NARRATOR]
They need all the information you have to do the best job possible. Being honest will get
you the best results, so mention symptoms, even if you think they aren’t important. And if you have any sort
of pain, be sure to let them know. [DR. LAUREN WOOD]
So one of the things that’s really important for you to know as a patient is that there are laws in place
that protect people with limited English proficiency. Because of these laws, medical interpreters are
available to translate between you and your doctor. Now, these are trained health care interpreters, and they
can empower you during your medical appointment and ensure that you understand what your
doctor is saying regarding your health. This really leads to a better experience
for both you, the patient, and the doctor. People who are not trained, like family members,
friends, minors, your children—while they may be very well intentioned, they may accidentally leave out some
very vital information or inaccurately translate your health concerns or even what your doctor is trying
to communicate to you about your health condition. So be sure to ask your doctor or your health
care provider about having a medical interpreter at your next appointment. [NARRATOR]
But what if you don’t think your health care provider listens well? [DR. LAUREN WOOD]
Another really important thing that makes patients hesitant to share information with physicians is if they
feel that the physicians really aren’t paying attention to them— that they don’t really want to listen to them—
that they’re too rushed or hurried or busy and they want to kind of hurry up and get through. [NARRATOR]
You and your provider should have a relationship built on honesty, understanding, and mutual respect. [DR. MATTHEW MEMOLI]
Building trust with a patient is very important for the doctor–patient relationship. If you see that a visit maybe isn’t going
the way that you like, feel free to tell the physician whatever’s bothering you, because
all physicians ultimately want to do a good job in helping you be healthy. And so, if you let them know how you’re
feeling, they are going to do something to try to help you, so really feel free to really tell
any physician what’s on your mind, because they’re going to respond to that. [NARRATOR]
Health care professionals that you feel comfortable with and who understand your
values will help you achieve your health goals. But communicating well requires
attention and effort on both sides of the street. Learning how to talk to your medical
team can improve your overall health care experience and, in turn, make the road
to good health a whole lot smoother. [MUSIC]

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