How do you communicate with your doctors? Have you ever thought about it? Have you considered what your doctor is hearing? Keiro believes having strong relationships with your doctors contributes to living a healthier life, by being able to clearly communicate your conditions and needs.

We asked doctors in our community to share their opinions on what characteristics makes an “ideal patient.” While some said that there is no such thing as an “ideal patient,” all the doctors provided suggestions to help community members better express themselves and their health needs during their next doctor’s appointment.

1. Ask questions. Write down your questions in a notebook before your appointment and make sure to ask them. Ask your doctor to explain in simple, common terms that you can understand. Repeat the information back to your doctor, so they can confirm that you have the correct understanding of the situation.

2. Listen to your doctor. Listening also means ensuring that you understand what your doctor’s recommended treatment, so you can implement it. If prescribed medicine, be sure to take it as instructed. If you are having trouble following the directions, talk to your doctor and explain what is happening so they can understand the situation and figure out a solution for your needs.

3. Don’t enryo when it comes to communicating with your doctor. You should feel comfortable enough with your doctor to voice any concerns you might have, big or small. All questions are important, so do not enryo and think you are bothering your doctor. If there are any difficulties within your treatment plan, vocalize that to your doctor so they know what to adjust, if possible. Your doctor should be seen as someone with whom you can have an open conversation, so that you can collaborate together to find the best solution for your health. Be sure to find a doctor you trust, and who listens and gives you reliable recommendations.

4. Know that the media may not tell you everything. Don’t believe everything you read on the internet, see on TV, or hear from other media outlets. If you hear of a new treatment that you believe may help your situation, bring it up with your doctor so they can let you know if it is a valid option for your situation. You should not self-diagnose your situation without consulting your doctor.

5. Create a log for yourself. Come prepared with a list of all of your current medications, so that you are ready to discuss how you are managing your medications. In addition, create a log to help you remember how certain medications made you feel or describe how you reacted to changes in your prescriptions. You can use this log to help communicate to your doctor any concerns you might have about your current treatment plan.  If you are having trouble remembering or writing things down, perhaps bring a loved one to help you keep track of what you are doing for your health.

When it comes to communicating, what do you plan on doing to enhance the relationship you have with your doctor? As indicated by doctors within our community, you, as the patient, should feel comfortable communicating all of your health concerns during your appointment.  Does keeping a log help you keep track of your questions? Do you prefer bringing an advocate or loved one with you to help you voice your concerns?  Share your best communication tips with us via [email protected].

Thank you to Dr. Kent Miyamoto, Dr. Paul Murata, and Dr. Thomas Yoshikawa from sharing your professional opinions.