How to Build a Relationship with a Doctor - Mature Health Center

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May 4, 2015

How to Build a Relationship with a Doctor

How to Build a Relationship with a Doctor

Having a relationship with your doctor is important for many reasons. Sure, it’s comforting to speak about health-related issues with someone who knows your medical history and lifestyle. But it goes beyond that. Having a relationship with your doctor takes a great deal of pressure off, as you are less hesitant to reach out to that person should you have questions or concerns.

The next time you go to the doctor, whether for a chronic concern or for a simple checkup, consider the following tips for building a better relationship:

Be willing to discuss: What is the point of visiting a doctor if you are only going to share part of the situation? For example, you might tell your doctor of a pain you are continuously having, but that is not the same as expressing your concerns regarding the pain. According to Everyday Health, don't treat your ailment as if it is just something that’s there and you want gone — treat the ailment as a concern that is part of you, which means discussing life factors as well. For example, how is this ailment affecting you? When do you notice it the most? Share your feelings toward the pain and your concerns regarding potential outcomes. This will inspire dialogue and better develop your relationship, which will mean the doctor will have a better grasp on how to treat your mind and body.

Be truthful in everything: It is tempting to make yourself look better when answering questions at the doctor's office — not only the questions about how often you drink alcohol or exercise, but also personal questions your doctor asks you. According to Wake Forest Baptist Health, truth needs to be a key player in your relationship. You are seeing a doctor because you want to feel better, but how can your doctor do his or her job without knowing all the facts about you and what is wrong? You might think certain information doesn't pertain to the particular situation, but you are not the professional. Trust your doctor in both the rules of confidentiality and the fact that these questions are probably relevant to how treatment will be approached.

Provide feedback: When you visit a doctor, the conversation shouldn't be one-way. Naturally your doctor will have things to say regarding your situation, but you should be asking questions and offering feedback as well, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians Division of Medical Education. Your doctor wants to hear from you as much as you want to hear what he or she has to say. Giving your doctor feedback will help not only your relationship improve, but will also improve the doctor's approach to many patients. If you just nod and answer with yes or no, then a doctor is going to make a decision and send you on your way. On the other hand, if you are responsive and ask questions about either your situation or about recovery methods, the doctor will engage in a conversation and come up with a solution that both of you feel confident with.

If you don't have one already, develop a relationship with your doctor. Get to know that person as much as he or she knows you, and feel confident in your health.