5 Keys to Receive the Most Benefits : from Your Next Doctor’s Visit
Apr 01, 2012 06:11PM
● By Dr. Robert Friedman
This article aims to give you some clarity in the sea of confusion that exists today with the internet and "Dr. Google".
Before your next doctor’s visit, I recommend preparing yourself with a game plan that includes the following five strategies: identify your health goals; prioritize your main concerns; collect documentation from previous doctor visits; educate yourself about the doctor’s services and protocols; create a financial strategy to achieve your expected health outcomes.
Identify Your Health Goals
You can start with identifying chronic health issues that seem to persist over the years such as chronic allergies, stomach disorders or fatigue. If you have been attempting to self medicate, list the supplements and therapies you have tried with recorded outcomes.
Next, identify acute health issues. An acute health problem usually lasts no longer than a few days to a week. An example would be a rash that appeared due to food or contact with an animal or plant. It is important to separate acute and chronic health issues to assist the doctor in achieving an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.
Prioritize Your Main Health Concerns
You can use three parameters to prioritize your health concerns. First, list how long you have had the health problem. Next, rate the severity of the problem due to its physical impact on the body. Finally, assess the mental and emotional toll the illness is taking on your life and well being. If you have a difficult time assessing these parameters, ask a family member or close friend to assist you.
This priority assessment is important since it is your life, and your doctor may have a different perspective that doesn’t address your immediate concerns. This is non-productive and leads to miscommunication and confusion.
Collect Documentation from Previous Doctor Visits
Make sure that you assemble all your previous blood work and radiology reports, clinic notes, etc. from the past year of physician visits. If you need to request this information, allow at least two weeks before your doctor’s appointment to receive these records.
Educate Yourself About the Doctor’s Services and Protocols
You usually can find out about the services and protocols that match the health services on the clinic website. After reviewing this information, call the clinic or physician’s nurse to discuss any further questions you may have about responding to your requirements. This will save everyone a lot of time and energy.
For example, if you are looking for a physician that is familiar with functional medicine and is able to assess your vitamin and mineral deficiencies, make sure that this service is included in the diagnostic protocols. If the physician doesn’t have a background in nutrition, and this is one of your requirements, this will also save you time.
Create a Financial Strategy to Achieve your Expected Health Outcomes.
Before your appointment, ask the clinic about financial arrangements. Do they accept your insurance or are they only fee for service with cash payments? This is very important in planning a strategy for a successful outcome. During the first or second meeting with the physician, also ask an approximation of office visits for a successful outcome. Sometimes a physician will phase the treatment plan in two or three stages. Know what to expect in each phase of the treatment so you have a time line.
Use these criteria as a template for successful visits to your doctor. Follow the outline as presented and you will find yourself making informed decisions that will empower you as a patient and partner in your health maintenance and wellness program.
Dr. Robert Friedman has practiced holistic medicine for 30 years. He is Medical Director of The Longevity Health Clinic in St. Petersburg. Dr. Friedman created the Whole Body Scan to assist in making accurate diagnoses for his patients. He offers lectures and a free mini scan at www.LongevityHealthClinic.com. Email questions to [email protected]
Longevity Health Clinic is located in the St. Petersburg Hilton, 727-233-3727.