Now comes the most important part: What to do after deciding to become an empowered patient. First off, congratulations on your decision to take an active part in your healthcare. For your information, you will be happy you did, I guarantee it. Maybe you won’t feel it at first but you will over time.
I thought I would give you some insight from my entry into the empowered patient world. My take may be different from yours but let me say this, it should run pretty close to mine in that many doctors are the same (afraid of an empowered patient), especially if they are set in their ways. Don’t let that scare you away though, it just takes a little time and loving to make everyone work together.
To start with, once you’ve made the move to become empowered, now it is time for a sit down with your Doc. This is probably the hardest in two ways:
#1. Getting an appointment with the Doctor just to talk
#2. Getting the Doc to understand the term sit down
If you succeed in getting the appointment then it’s time to decide how you are going to run the sit down. Remember your Doctor may not like the idea of you running the sit down but there are ways to make him feel like it is his or her show. To begin with, just ease into it by making a sincere statement that you want to help the Doctor understand you better. Tell him or her that you want to understand not only your health but why your health is like it is. It could be home life, work, or something else, but it is still important to your overall health and they need to understand that first.
Then comes the hard part: communicating your sit down agenda with your Doc. It isn’t too hard if you did the intro I mentioned above, but Doctors will be Doctors. Take it slowly and make sure you explain why the Doctor needs to talk about these points. Make it clear that your intention is to fully participate in your healthcare so that you can both make more informed decisions. Explain to your Doc that it will make their job easier in the long run, too, as you will become healthier and more in control of your health.
You might think this will get the Doctor to disagree in that he or she won’t be making money off of you, but most Doctors, if they really care about you and your health, don’t want to see you unless it is serious. They want you to be healthy because if you are healthy, you may refer new patients to them and brag about their services. At least that’s how my Doctor operates. She loves me bragging about how healthy she keeps me.
The sit down meeting is your chance to begin a new way of working work with your Doctor. So, do not go in there without research — be prepared! Know your meds and know your conditions and be clear about what you want to get out of getting involved in your healthcare. Tell the Doc what you bring to the equation and how it will in the end make you feel even better about following orders from them. It’s all about helping them to understand your purpose. Once you do that it should go easy.
After your sit down, if you are getting frustrated and still want to be involved with your healthcare, it may be time to start looking for a new Doctor. I’ve been there also and that is what we will talk about in the next post. What to do when your Doc says no!