Today’s healthcare landscape is very different from the one just a couple of decades ago. Advances in technology have made it easier than ever for patients and healthcare professionals to communicate with each other. In fact, communicating effectively has become a critical component of any successful healthcare organization. Whether you’re a patient or a healthcare professional, being able to communicate in an effective and timely manner can help you navigate the healthcare system more smoothly and confidently. If you’re a patient, making sure that your communications are as effective as possible can help you get the most out of your time with your physician. If you’re a physician, making sure that your communications are as effective as possible can help you get more from your patients. Whatever role you play in the healthcare system, there are some very effective ways to improve all communications activities between patient and provider.
Have a Clear Understanding of What You Want From Your Visit.
Communicating effectively starts with understanding exactly why you’re communicating. Before you head to a doctor’s appointment, make sure that you know exactly what you want to get out of that visit. If you’re seeing your primary care physician, do you want to get a referral to a specialist? If you’re seeing a specialist, do you want a diagnosis? Whatever it is that you want out of that visit, make sure you have it clearly in your mind. This will help you structure your communications more effectively. If you know that you need a diagnosis, for example, you’ll know that you need to ask for one. If you know that you need a referral to a specialist, you’ll know what the appropriate communication medium is. Knowing exactly what you want to get out of a visit can also help you feel more confident and comfortable during that visit. Communication is a two-way street, and the more confident you are, the more effectively you’ll get your point across to your healthcare provider.
Communicate in Writing, When Possible.
When possible, communicate with your healthcare providers in writing. This can be especially useful if you’re seeing a specialist, since they may see many patients each day and may not have the time to thoroughly review your medical history. When you communicate with your healthcare providers via writing, you have more control over the content of your message. You can make sure that your points are clearly stated and that you don’t leave anything out. Depending on the type of visit, you may be able to email your healthcare provider or write a letter and send it through the U.S. Postal Service. This can be especially helpful if you’re making your first visit to a specialist. You can use this communication to give the specialist all the information they need to make an informed diagnosis.
Helping Professionals Understand Your Point of View.
Whether you’re seeing a specialist or your primary care physician, they may not always understand your point of view. There may be times when you feel like they don’t understand what you’re going through. The best way to communicate your point of view effectively is to be open and honest with your healthcare provider. Let them know what you’re going through. If you have difficulty expressing yourself, there are a few things you can do to help get your point across.
Practice your talking points. Talking about a difficult topic can be difficult for anyone, even if it’s something that you’re very passionate about. Practicing what you want to say in front of a mirror or with a friend can help you feel more confident when you talk to your healthcare provider.
Identify what your goals are. What are you hoping to get out of this conversation? What do you want your healthcare provider to know? Identifying your goals can help you focus on what you want to say and make sure you don’t lose track of your train of thought.
Think about the vocabulary you use. Are there words that come to mind when you think about your situation? These can be helpful ways to get your point across and make it easier for your healthcare provider to understand it.
Ask for What You Need and be Prepared to Negotiate.
Depending on the situation, you may need to ask your healthcare provider for something specific. If you’re asking for a referral to a specialist, for example, you may need to explain why you feel like you need to see that specialist. If a medical professional doesn’t seem to be responding to your needs or you feel like you’re not getting what you need from them, you may need to negotiate for what you want. Negotiating isn’t always easy, but it can be an effective way to get what you need from your visit. It can also be a helpful way to help healthcare providers understand your point of view and why you feel the way you do. If you’re having a hard time negotiating with a healthcare provider, there are some things you can do to make the process easier.
Make sure you understand their point of view. Before you negotiate, make sure that you understand what the healthcare provider’s point of view is and why they feel the way they do.
Identify what your goals are. As you negotiate, it’s important to remember what your goals are. If you’re negotiating a diagnosis, for example, your goal may be to get a diagnosis that is clear and specific.
Hold a “Second Meeting” With Only the Most Important Topics.
If you have a complex or long-term medical condition, you may have multiple doctor’s appointments throughout the year and many different topics to cover at each one. If you have a lot of information to cover in one visit, it can get confusing and difficult to keep track of. A good way to keep track of everything is to have a “second meeting” with your healthcare provider. This can help you organize your thoughts between visits and make sure that you don’t forget anything important. It can also help you focus on the most important topics. This can be especially important if you have a lot of different doctors that you see regularly. A second meeting can help you keep track of all the information you need to communicate to different providers and prioritize which topics are most important.
Communication is a two-way street, and it can help you get the most out of your interactions with your healthcare provider. If you’re a patient, make sure that you understand what your healthcare provider needs from you and vice versa. If you’re a healthcare professional, make sure that you understand what your patients need from you and vice versa. Whatever role you play in the healthcare system, there are some very effective ways to improve all communications activities between patient and provider.