Tuesday, January 3, 2012

A Toolkit to Communicate With Your Doctor & Take Charge of Your Health! ~Part 1~

Its Medical System Tuesday, a New Year and time for a new way of operating with regard to your health!  After spending the last part of 2011 sharing my "insider tips" on how to get the best medical care in the hospital, with the New Year upon us I'm going to shift to talk about outpatient topics to optimize your health BEFORE you become acutely ill.  I'll also throw in a few posts over the coming months specific to my medical specialty--like how to use rehab techniques to prepare for a joint replacement surgery or how to use multi-disciplinary interventions to treat chronic pain. 

Today I'm going to talk about how to take the first step to seize control of your own health.  This step begins with your primary care doctor.  

Outpatient clinics are hectic--you have a very short period of time to communicate your health concerns & give your doctor the opportunity to use their professional training & clinical judgment to assist you.  The result is often leaving appointments feeling confused about the treatment plan and having forgotten to ask about a key medical symptom that has been worrying you!  

But this doesn't have to be the case!  There are a few simple things that you can do to get the professional best out of your doctor and leave appointments feeling empowered to take charge of your own health!

It will require some work on your part but the benefits are tremendous!  Are you ready to get started?  In the comments section of this post let me know if you are COMMITTED to taking these steps and then lets check in next week to see if you were able to follow through!!:-)

Your first goal is to organize yourself as a patient to enable your doctor to get all the data they need to fully focus on and address your key medical problems.

As you can probably tell, I like writing lists so guess what?  Its time for another list!  This time its YOUR list of assignments for the months of January and February 2012. :-)  

Here are the first three tasks (lets take it step by step and don't get overwhelmed!)

By next Sunday, January 15th:
1) Make an appointment with your primary care doctor to be seen in one month from today.  When you make the appointment ask for either the first appointment of the day or the first appointment after lunch.  This will make it more likely that you will be seen close to on time.

2) Make time to sit down and organize all your health information before you go into the doctor (make a medical info sheet, put all your health-related paperwork in one binder, call ahead and make sure the doctor's office has all your updated information in their files.)

3) Research what recommended health screens you should have based on your age and exposure.  Make a written list of any tests that haven't been done that are appropriate for your age range. 
MEN:  print this PDF file out: http://www.ahrq.gov/ppip/healthymen.pdf or visit the Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality (AHRQ) website at: http://www.ahrq.gov/ppip/healthymen.htm 
WOMEN: print this PDF file out:  http://www.ahrq.gov/ppip/healthywom.pdf or visit the website: http://www.ahrq.gov/ppip/healthywom.htm

Ok now lets get to it!  Tune in next week for the key tasks to complete in the two weeks prior to your appointment and the techniques you can use to make sure you leave the appointment with a clear understanding of what your doctor recommended and most importantly, WHY!

Coming Up:
  • Build a Healthy Immune System with Food: Part 2 of SuperImmunity for Kids!
  • The Clear Skin Diet and My New Soy-Free Life!
  • Treating Pain with Food--more thoughts
  • Foods That Make You Feel Good (A New Series Featuring Individual Foods & Their Nutrient Power)
Coming Up on Medical System Tuesdays:
  • Part 2: A Toolkit to Communicate With Your Doctor & Take Charge of Your Health
The medical information on this site is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. This information is not intended to be patient education, does not create any patient-physician relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.  Please consult your health care provider before making any healthcare decisions or for guidance about a specific medical condition. The Happy Rehab Doc expressly disclaims responsibility, and shall have no liability, for any damages, loss, injury, or liability whatsoever suffered as a result of your reliance on the information contained in this site.  By visiting this site you agree to the foregoing terms and conditions.

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