This article that came out this morning in the Public Health Newswire is just packed full of stuff to talk about with you!! I’m doing a happy dance right now!! I’m going to take it a question at a time because I have so much to comment and I want to give you time to think and respond.
The first question that they ask Carolyn Clancy, MD and director of AHRQ (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality – I’ve mentioned them before) is :
Q: AHRQ aims to improve health care services for all Americans. What role does communication play in helping the agency achieve its goal? in which she responds “The main “currency” of health care is communication – and information.” Yes, finally!!! We are admitting that the patients exist as living speaking being that can tell you what is going on if you just TALK to them! They aren’t just lab test 010101. Clancy even points to the AHRQ campaign Questions Are the Answer campaign. It give you good points to remember when dealing with your care with a clinician. The campaign provides 10 questions that you should know to ask your clinician. (I am purposely using the word clinician here because often you don’t just see a doctor but perhaps a nurse practitioner or a physicians assistant.) It also breaks down what you should expect or be prepared for in the different phases of this care cycle – before, during and after your appointment. There is an interactive build your own questions that I just adore! It helps select questions, then helps you prioritize them and then (!!!!) it puts it into a printable format with space to write the answers and notes that you can take with you to the clinicians!
Overall, don’t let the visit intimidate you. Prepare for it. YOU are the customer. YOUR life is the one being given the focus and attention. This especially applies if you are taking a child to see a clinician. And now, due to my own circumstances I am aware, it is often an elderly parent that needs to have this same preparation for an appointment by the caregiver or family member.
Stay tuned for the next segment!