Doctors and patients may have quite different priorities when they meet together.
Recognizing this, what can we do as patients and doctors to come to a common understanding and have our needs and expectations met at each visit?
The worst meetings at work are those where the attendees do not share a common purpose or understanding and when they do not begin with a shared agenda. If we take a few moments even before the meeting starts to plan that agenda, we will make the most respectful use of everyone’s time.
What can you do as a patient?
When you book your appointment, tell the office staff everything on your list. Medical office assistants (MOAs) are part of your health care team and they respect your confidentiality.
By informing them of all your concerns, they can book an appropriate appointment time for you and ensure that the doctor has everything that is needed to look after each of them. For example, if you are seeing the doctor for a work-related injury, you may need to provide additional work details or complete some forms before the visit. If you are coming for test results, the MOA will ensure that the reports are in your chart before the doctor meets you. If you need immunizations, the vaccines and any other necessary medical supplies will be in the room when the doctor sees you. This will help your visit run more smoothly with your doctor less distracted by interruptions.
For the same reason, if you have any addition to your list on the day of your visit, let the staff know as soon as possible.
Coming up: How doctors and patients can agree on the agenda.