How to Build a Better Relationship with Your Healthcare Providers
Get the Most for Your Money!
Practicing as a nurse for fifteen years I have watched my patients and families grow frustrated with the healthcare system. This frustration often stems from long wait times, unanswered questions, or just plain lack of knowledge on how things work. This confusion has become greater throughout my career as hospitals and clinics are serving more and more patients with less and less resources, and a smaller staff. In this hub I will give you some basic tips on how to build a better relationship with your healthcare providers.
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Some Basic Tips to Remember
Believe it or not the quality of your appointment is often affected by the time of day it is scheduled. I strongly suggest patients schedule their appointments as early in the business day as possible. In the mornings the staff is fresh and ready to get to work. The worst times to setup an appointment are immediately before lunch and at the end of the day. Try to avoid these times if you can when scheduling routine follow up exams, but of course, always take what time you can get in the event you are ill and need a work-in visit.
Always arrive 15-20 minutes prior to your scheduled appointment time in case you have trouble finding parking, locating the facility, hit traffic, or need to fill out paperwork. It seems as if we are all juggling packed lives these days, so if you know you have another commitment that could overlap your appointment time, save yourself the headache, and schedule on a day when you will not be rushed. Ultimately you, as the patient, will get more out of the appointment if you are not stressed out about being late for your next appointment or meeting.
Many offices now utilize electronic medical records (EMR) and also have begun to put the forms they require online for patients to complete and submit ahead of time.This will save you much time once you arrive so be sure to ask about this when you make your appointment.
New Patient? Take or Have Your Records Sent
Have a List of Your Current Medications
It is always a blessing when clients come prepared for the appointment. If for instance you are seeing a specialist about a particular issue write down the questions you want to discuss and have them ready. If you take multiple medications have an updated list of them to present to the nursing staff. This will save much time and effort therefore leaving more time to discuss your condition with your provider. If you have records pertaining to a particular or are changing doctors it is crucial to obtain these records and bring them to your appointment. If at all possible send any records you can into the office ahead of your appointment. This will allow the physician plenty of time to review them and to prepare for your visit.
There Are No Stupid Questions!
If you have questions do not be afraid to ask them. I still hear so many patients say things like,"This is probably a stupid question but....." Trust me your healthcare provider would much rather you ask than to sit around without answer. If you forget to ask the doctor something, or are confused about instructions you were given at your appointment always call the office ask the nursing staff. Answering questions about doctors orders is the main part of our job and we welcome the questions.
What time of day do you book your appointments?
What is the worst time of the day to schedule your doctors appointment?
Know If Your Insurance Requires a Referral
Be Prepared to Pay Your Co-pay
It is a well-know fact insurance plans play a major role in determining which doctor clients may choose. Find out from your insurance company if a specific physician you want to see is either in network or a preferred provider under your plan. Also, find out if your plan requires you to have a referral to see specialists. Be prepared to pay any out of pocket costs ahead of time by asking about the finiacial policy of the particular practice you are interested in ahead of time. I cannot stress enough how important it is to do this before the day of your appointment. It seems like common sense, but so many patients are taken by surprise by issues just like these.
Be open and honest with your healthcare providers. If you don't feel comfortable with your provider, find another one whose style of care suits you.
Thank you for visiting my hub. I hope you found it to be helpful. Please let me know you dropped by.