Having good communication with your doctor is vital to getting the most out of your medical care. However, many people don't know how to communicate effectively with their doctors. Take it from Glendalyn Fodra, a devoted physical therapist with 25 years of experience in various settings. 

To help open up the lines of communication, and create a solid foundation for a good relationship with your doctor, Glendalyn Fodra has prepared the following tips:

Choose a Doctor Who Actively Cares

You can easily tell which doctors will or will not listen or care about your personal medical needs in one or two meetings. If you don't believe your doctor will listen, care, or effectively work with you, it's best to seek out a doctor who will.

Write Down Your Questions and Concerns Before Your Visit

Be as organized as possible when it comes to any questions or concerns you have about your health. Forgetting what you want to ask or talk about with your doctor delays proper treatment and care. Write down a list of questions and concerns before any visit to the doctor. Go through the list with your doctor during your visit. It's a good idea to bring a pen or pencil with you to allow you to write down the doctor's specific answers to your questions for future reference. Don't be shy about asking questions about any new developments in your diagnoses or treatments as they come up during your visit as well.

Keep A Detailed Record

Your doctor likely has access to most of your past medical records, but it's a good idea to make them aware of anything that might not be included in those records, especially if the injury, illness or condition is or was severe. If you're experiencing chronic problems or are suspicious of odd symptoms, keep a log of your own and go through it with your doctor.

Don't Be Intimidated

Many people are intimidated by doctors since they have more education and experience in the realm of medicine than you likely do. No matter what you think about your own health, you may choose to stay quiet or change your opinions based on the way your doctor acts or what they say. For example, you may have a lump that you're concerned about, but your doctor brushes it off as nothing. Even though you're still worried about the lump, you choose to stay quiet to avoid conflict.

If you're still having doubts, want a second opinion from another doctor or want additional testing, don't be afraid to speak up. Doctors may be knowledgeable, but they're human, and they make mistakes. You know your body better than anyone, so don't be afraid to stand up for yourself and get some true peace of mind.

Show Appreciation

Being assertive and forthright is very important in having good communication with your doctor, but you should also show appreciation for their efforts whenever possible. Doctors work for you, but the best way to create and maintain a strong relationship with them and get the best possible results is by treating them with respect.

Bring a Friend or Family Member with You

Sometimes, it's scary, embarrassing, or awkward to discuss and manage your health problems by yourself. The presence of a close friend or family member can help alleviate those feelings and make you feel more comfortable. They may also help remind you of questions or concerns you had, suggest additional questions that you may never have considered, and help ensure that your voice is heard.

Ask for Contact Information

Knowing the office's number or email address isn't enough. You might have problems, questions, or concerns that need attention as soon as possible. Most doctors have phone numbers, and email addresses meant specifically for work so you can contact them directly without needing to get their private information.

Schedule Other Appointments

If all of your questions and concerns can't be addressed in one appointment, schedule another to stay on top of your health issues. Your doctor can help create a good appointment arrangement for you based on your health needs. For instance, if you have an issue that tends to develop slowly, your doctor might suggest meeting in a few weeks to see if it's getting better or worse. If the issue tends to act faster, is particularly damaging to your quality of life or is life-threatening, your doctor may suggest meeting as soon as possible.

Your health is a serious topic that needs to be handled with care. Good communication with your doctor can greatly improve your overall health and possibly even save your life. Opening up the lines of communication is the first step, but it's up to both you and your doctor to ensure that everything is clear to both parties involved. You'll be amazed at how much peace of mind you attain once you establish and maintain a good professional relationship with your doctor.

About Glendalyn Fodra:
Glendalyn Fodra selflessly devotes all her time and efforts to caring for her patients, family, and friends. Her main goal is to help everyone around feel better and to provide a superior level of care and support. She is a devoted wife who enjoys taking care of the household and her children. She also volunteers with her youngest son’s swim meets and swim league during the summer.