Regardless of how experienced your doctor is, there is always a risk of human error disrupting your health care and compromising your well-being. When you prioritize communication and build a good relationship with your doctor, you can play a proactive part in your safety.
Listening to your doctor, asking questions, evaluating progress, collaborating on solutions and verifying understanding are all ways that you can encourage responsibility and accuracy from your health care provider. Bringing someone you trust to your appointments can facilitate communication and help you feel more comfortable.
Talking with your doctor can make you feel uncomfortable for a variety of reasons including the following:
- You are a new patient
- You feel self-conscious about your body
- You do not understand medical terminology
- You are an introvert
Having someone you trust accompany you can build your confidence and lighten your nerves. According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, National Institutes of Health, bringing someone with you can optimize the time you have with your doctor. Both of you can tag-team asking questions. Knowing that you are not alone may help you feel more comfortable addressing your concerns.
When dealing with a health crisis, you may not process as much of what your doctor tells you as you otherwise would. Asking someone to accompany you can remove that pressure. Before your appointment, explain your expectations to the person coming with you. With two sets of ears listening to your doctor, you can more effectively verify your understanding.
Additionally, your plus one may recognize concerns that you do not. Their vigilance can encourage your doctor to maintain the highest standard of care, as well as protect you from malpractice because of an oversight.