Make the Most of Your Medical Consultation

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Consultations with your doctor can be rushed and stressful, and it is

common for patients to forget to ask key questions during the actual consultation

itself.

One of the most lucrative ways to make money in this field is to apply

to production or movie outfits where you’ll review scripts and ensure the

accuracy of medical facts and where you’ll be encourage to make suggestions to

make the script more factual and easier to understand. You can also make money

by reviewing advertisements for medical products and facilities so your clients

will not misinformed their potential buyers. Another way to make money in this

field is to offer your expert advice to health care facilities when they are

hiring new physicians or nurses. You can also help doctors in setting up their

own practices by giving advice on zoning and licensing.

While doctors often effectively have an “agenda” of issues to

work through in a consultation, such as taking a history, performing an

examination and ordering tests, issues of importance from a patients

perspective can often be left out, so patients need to think about their own

agenda, and what they would like to get out of any consultation. It is

important to work out what are the most important questions to ask your doctor

to make sure you get the most out of your consultation, and consequently

receive the most appropriate treatment, and make sure that your own agenda is

addressed?

How can you make sure that you remember to ask the questions that are

of most concern to you?

As a practicing physician, here are my suggestions:

1. Do as much research as possible before you see your doctor – let’s

face it you don’t go and see your accountant to do your taxes without

collecting information beforehand, and thinking about the issues you want to

discuss. Do the same with your doctor. The Internet is the easiest source of

information to use, and the US Government Agency for Healthcare Research and

Quality (AHRQ) has an excellent site where you will find a comprehensive series

of questions on many different health topics.

2. Write down your questions – and if necessary take a list with you,

including a second copy for your doctor.

3. Prioritize your questions – ask the most important ones first –

don’t waste time asking about the payment process when you are really worried

about whether you have cancer or diabetes.

4. Take someone with you if you have questions that are really concerning

you – two sets of ears are better than one – and make sure you have discussed

your needs with your friend or family member before the consultation so that

they can help you get answers if necessary.

5 Write down the answers – even if this is just a rapid note. Research

has shown that only 20% of the information given during a medical consultation

is remembered one week later – but if it’s written down, the percentage recall

is much higher.

Asking good questions is essential in any medical consultation, and it

is incumbent on patients to take responsibility for their health and find out

as much as possible of relevance so that they can make good decisions in

partnership with their doctors.