How many times have you been to the doctor’s office, been poked and prodded, leaving with a prescription, only to recall all of the things you didn’t ask? Or maybe something the doctor said you did not quite understand? Next time, make the most of the visit with a few strategic tips.
Take an active role in your medical care and treatment
• Listen intentionally to what the doctor says during all doctor visits, and be proactive with taking notes.
• Do some research on your own and you may just need to talk to more than one healthcare professional
• COMMUNICATE! Share important information with your doctor – such as other medications and supplements you take, whether you have claustrophobia, and how you handle your symptoms
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• Learn your treatment options and work with your healthcare professional to customize your treatment plan.
Take proper care of your body and mind
• Incorporate stress reduction techniques, such as medication, exercise, and stretching into your day
• Eat well! Proper nutrition goes a long way toward helping heal the body
• Get counseling or join a support group
Effectively utilize healthcare resources
• Make a plan and stick to it
• Know what triggers your pain/condition and AVOID those triggers
• Develop effective responses to deal with flare-ups
• BE PREPARED with extra medications, equipment for long trips, or other necessary preparations.
Know Your Health Plan Coverage
• Does your plan put a cap on the services that your doctor is requesting?
• Does your insurance company cover alternative treatments, such as acupuncture or chiropractic care?
• Can you receive reimbursements for treatments that may be considered nutrition, biofeedback, naturopathy, homeopathy, acupressure and yoga. Will your flexible savings account cover any of these?
Ask, Ask, Ask, and Ask Again
• Don’t be afraid to ask questions or what a medical term means. You did not go to medical school.
• Ask the doctor to clarify or elaborate on any medical jargon used.
• Ask about medication samples. Your doctor may have drug samples that could work for you.
Moshe Lewis MD, MPH, MBA is currently on the Volunteer Clinical Faculty of UCSF. Dr. Lewis also serves as the Chief Medical Officer for Blackwomenshealth.com and is a Medical Contributor for healthyblackmen.org.