The Importance of Playing an Active Role in Your Healthcare

active role in healthcareTaking care of your health is obviously important. Unfortunately, it can also be quite overwhelming. To begin, there is the effort that goes into maintaining a healthy lifestyle. No matter how good we know it is for our bodies, exercising regularly and avoiding the flurry of unhealthy choices like processed foods, alcohol, and tobacco is far more difficult than it may sound. Then, there are the doctor appointments and medications. Sure you may have your primary care physician, but what about when your healthcare team includes specialists from other practices? Suddenly, you have multiple physicians overseeing your care, while you serve as the primary means of communication between them all.

Physician-Patient Communication Means Better Care

Studies have shown repeatedly that the best outcomes occur when patients and their physicians communicate clearly, openly, and honestly with one another. The better a patient understands their condition and their physician's instructions, the more likely they are to follow the plan of care. Likewise, the better a physician understands the complete picture of a patient's health, including previous diagnoses, family history, and all medications taken, the better the level of care that they can provide. Some proven benefits of strong physician-patient communication include:

  • Better patient understanding of health conditions
  • Better patient understanding of treatment options
  • Greater adherence to treatment plans by patients
  • Lower hospital admission/readmission rates

What Should You Tell Your Doctor at Each Appointment?

As a patient, what can you do to help keep the lines of communication open with your physician? To begin, you can ensure that your doctor knows about every other physician who treats you and what they treat you for. They should have a thorough understanding of your personal and family medical history, and they should know every type of medication you take as well as their dosages. This includes medications that are not only prescription, but over-the-counter medicines as well like Aspirin, Tylenol and vitamins. To be safe, it is best to bring any and all medicines with you to your appointment.

While juggling the many aspects of your healthcare can often seem hectic and overwhelming, taking an active role in your own care will help make the most out of your treatment. Help your physicians provide you with the highest possible levels of care by providing them with open and thorough communication.

At Cardiovascular Institute of the South, our physicians seek to give patients not only great heart care, but to be clear in their communications as well. Together, we can make a great healthcare team! To get started with any one of our doctors, request an appointment at any of our many locations.

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Dr. Kris Lindsay

Written by Dr. Kris Lindsay