5 Ways to Have a Better Relationship with Your Doctor

Here are some ways you and your physician can work together to forge a mutually beneficial relationship.

Over the past forty years there has been a fundamental change in the relationship that we have with our doctor. Gone are the old-school, paternalistic days when you went to the doctor, he (it was usually a man) told you what to do, and you listened to and obeyed his every word.

Nowadays patients are increasingly becoming more active participants in their healthcare. And doctors are being trained differently these days. They understand that patients are intelligent adults who want and need to make informed decisions about their healthcare, especially in the common cases when a test or treatment has both risks and benefits associated with it.

Your doctor can be an excellent resource and partner helping you make wise, informed decisions. Here are some ways you and your physician can work together to forge a mutually benefit relationship.

1) Learn more about your condition by asking your doctor to recommend reliable medical resources.

2) Find out how much time you have for your appointment and come with specific questions to address during the visit.

3) Carry a clearly printed list of your current medications with you at all times.

4) Be prepared to take some responsibility for your own health and to do all that you can to improve it yourself (such as with diet and exercise).

5) Don’t demand certain tests or medications. This is off-putting to your doctor, who has spent many years learning what is useful and what isn’t. However, feel free to ask your doctor about specific tests and medications if you believe that they could be of benefit to you.

Taking charge of your health and working with your doctor will improve your sense of control and well-being and will help ensure that you continue to maintain and enjoy a higher quality of life.

Dr. Zach (Zachary Levine) is an emergency physician at the McGill University Health Centre and the medical correspondent for Zoomer Radio (AM740; zoomerradio.ca)