Working with their doctor isn’t something all patients do, but it can certainly have a good impact on their health and the understanding of what they should do to care for a medical condition. In order to work with your doctor, you need two things: a doctor you can trust to work with and help you, and knowledge of the kinds of questions you really should be asking. When you work with Dr. Hall you get a chance to have a strong learning experience, as that is something he provides for all of his patients who want to know more about their health. You really don’t need to go to medical school in order to get a great medical education.
The more information you get from your doctor, the more you can make an informed decision as a patient. That can mean better physical health, but it can also mean better mental and emotional health, along with fewer worries. Rather than passively accept anything you’re told about your condition or the medication or procedures you need, make sure you ask questions and are satisfied with the answers before you proceed. Doing that can make the difference between a procedure or medicine that works and one that is unsuccessful. Here are some of the most important questions you should be asking.
1) Why do you need this test or treatment?
According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, which is part of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, this is one of the most important questions you can ask your doctor. The test your doctor is recommending may be very important, or it may be something that is recommended but not necessarily required. Additionally, there can be risks with some tests or treatments, and you want to know what those risks are before you agree to any kind of procedure, test, treatment or medication. Taking some risks may be worth it, but only if you know those risks and have the opportunity to think through them before making a decision as to whether to proceed.
2) Are there alternative options to consider?
In many cases, there may be alternatives you can consider. That is great news for people who may not want a particular type of treatment or test, but who may feel better about another option they can also use. Not everything works well for every person, so it only makes sense that there would be some choices. Of course, that is not always the case. Not every test or treatment has alternatives, and sometimes there is a clear winner when it comes to what should be used. However, there is certainly no harm in asking questions about the tests or treatments, because that can lead to making the best choice for your needs.
3) What kinds of side effects can be expected?
The CDC provides information on side effects and adverse events that can occur when it comes to medications because it is “estimated that more than 700,000 individuals are seen in hospital emergency departments for adverse drug events each year in the United States. Nearly 120,000 of these patients need to be hospitalized for further treatment.” That is a large number of people, and avoiding that should be one of your primary concerns when any doctor wants to put you on a new medication.
4) What types of complications may occur?
It is estimated that at least 210,000 patients die each year from medical mistakes made in U.S. hospitals, according to information from Scientific American. An Institute of Medicine report previously stated that there were 98,000 deaths from medical mistakes. While the idea of medical complications can make patients nervous, these complications are a fact of life. Fortunately, most of the complications can be mitigated by asking the proper questions and ensuring that you get solid answers. Knowledge of complications is not designed to scare you. It is designed to ensure that you know what your risks are so you can decide if the procedure’s or medication’s value may outweigh the chance for complications.
5) How long will it be before you see the results?
Results are the end goal for the procedure or medication. No matter what kind of treatment is recommended, you want to know that it’s going to make you feel better, help you live longer or add value to your life in other ways. Even if it’s going to take a while for you to see results, knowing that can make it easier for you to get through the process. Working with your doctor about the results you can expect, and when you can start feeling better again can provide you with hope and give you some peace of mind. It also offers you something to look forward to, which can definitely make a difference in how you feel about your condition, prognosis and needed treatment.
Reach out to Revere Health today, and start getting answers to the questions you have about your health. By working with Dr. Hall, you get the chance to have a great learning experience so you can take better care of yourself and feel informed about any health conditions you may have.
About the Author—Brandon Hall, MD
Are you hoping to partner with a Board-Certified Family Physician who you can trust to support your family’s wellness through all cycles of life? Dr. Hall’s family medicine clinic offers compassionate, patient-centered care in a broad range of disciplines including internal medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology and geriatrics.