Building a Great a Patient-Doctor Relationship

Have you ever had a patient-doctor relationship where neither one of you did much talking? You know, one of those patient-doctor relationships where your doctor went through the routine of checking you, writing you a prescription (if necessary), and sending you on your merry way. Or a situation where you wanted to ask your doctor questions specific to health issues you were having but you just didn’t feel comfortable asking. We’ve all been there. But a patient-doctor relationship does not need to be one where you feel like you’re just a number.

Here are some tips for building a strong patient-doctor relationship:

  • Inform your doctor that it is important to you that you have a comfortable patient-doctor relationship, one where you can ask questions without feeling like you’re being rushed through your appointment.
  • Give your doctor examples of situations from a previous patient-doctor relationship where you did not feel appreciated as a patient.
  • When speaking with your doctor, imagine that you are sharing information you would with a friend. Let your doctor know about things that are happening in your life, e.g., if you’re experiencing unusually high anxiety and why or if you’ve noticed any changes in your body that are out of the ordinary.
  • If your doctor gives you reading materials or asks that you follow a certain regimen, do it. A great patient-doctor relationship goes both ways. The next time you meet, you will already have a topic to discuss. If your doctor prescribes you medication that does not seem to be working with you, you want to be able to talk to your doctor about how the medication makes you feel—only when you have an open patient-doctor relationship can you comfortably share information.
  • If your doctor explains things to you in medical terms that are confusing, you can tell him or her that you are having a hard time understanding and would like a more simple explanation.

Having a great patient-doctor relationship is easier than you may think. All it takes is communication.