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Informed People Make Healthy Choices

Informed People Make Healthy Choices

 

Being an informed patient is an empowering concept. In the modern wellness care marketplace, patients should be full partners in managing their health and well-being.  The practitioner-patient relationship is a two-way partnership in which they work together to manage the patient's care. It's no longer a situation in which the doctor tells the patient what to do.


What does it take to be an informed patient, one who can participate in a meaningful way and not be merely the passive recipient of the doctor's instructions and recommendations?

The first key is to identify a practitioner in whom you have confidence. Here are a few essential points to consider:

·         The practitioner has spent enough time with you on the first visit

·         The practitioner has focused on you, and has not been distracted by all the other things happening in the office

·         All of your questions have been satisfactorily answered 

·         The practitioner's recommendations are clear, and you understand what the next steps are going to be

The questions you ask are not just to keep talking and capture more of the doctor's time spent with you. An informed patient does some preparation - some homework - before the actual office visit. Do your best to evaluate the doctor's recommendations. First, what are the expected results? How quickly should you begin to feel better? Are there potential side-effects of the recommended treatment? What are the alternatives?

Alternatives may include other forms of therapy within the doctor's office and may also include consultation with another specialist. The main point is not to be left with a confusing array of choices, but to have enough information to go forward with a treatment plan that makes the most sense, both to your doctor and to you.

As in all relationships, the doctor-patient relationship is based on clear communication and mutual trust and understanding. You can help your wellness practitioner help you by being informed and participating in the decision-making process.

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