Your Doctor as an ally: How to work together to pursue what's best for you

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You are a collaborator in your health, and making your voice heard is important. Here are some things to keep in mind when you want your doctor to hear what you have to say.

Express appreciation
Let the provider know that you appreciate working WITH them to achieve the best possible health result for you.

Do unto doctors as...
How do you want the provider to treat you? The way they interact with you is how you should treat them. Yelling and arguing can impress the provider, but not in the way that gets your point across.

Giving the doctor internet information
Many people use the internet to research their conditions and treatments. some come to their medical appointments with piles of things they have printed. Before you give the doctor something you found, think about how that might be interpreted. The doctor might see reading it as time wasted -- maybe the doctor will think you do not trust her training and expertise. Instead, be tactful. Before you give the doctor the information, take a moment to ask their opinion of what you learned.

Respect is its own reward
In each medical encounter two experts are present. Your provider is the medical expert. You are the expert on you. Your provider spent years in training and continuing education all leading up to this encounter with you.

Focus on the problem, and keep an open mind
Focus on the problem to be solved, not on personalities. As your provider talks, listen to what she says before you ask questions or offer an opinion. Do not be judgmental or defensive while she speaks. Then, after listening, take a moment and then ask your questions. The doctor will appreciate that you listened before you spoke.

Complaints are OK
If you are going to give negative feedback, find something that you can also give positive feedback about. For example, ‘I appreciate that you took extra time with me today. I’m not sure that I know enough about this treatment yet to make a decision’. Think of each medical encounter as collaboration between two experts. Then focus on the problem, respect what the other contributes, and work together to get the best result.