This story: 15-Minute Visits Take A Toll On The Doctor-Patient Relationship posted on the Kaiser Health News web site got our attention. (You can see the full story here: www.kaiserhealthnews.org/stories/2014/april/21/15-minute-doctor-visits.aspx)
Both doctors and patients are feeling the stress from the decreasing amount of minutes that physicians under pressure are able to spend in an exam room one-on-one with the patients they care for. Did you know that the average amount of time physicians spends with a patient is right around 8 minutes per patient, according to a 2013 study reported on in the New York Times?
At Michigan Spine and Pain we spend the time we need to with our patients, even if that means our time with you is ten times the “new doctor national average” reported in the NYT study. The reality, though, is that your time with the doctor is limited. Preparing a list of questions can help you make the most of the window of time you have together. You can help facilitate a truly productive visit with your doctor if you write down your symptoms prior to your appointment and you:
*Bring the name(s) and contact information for any doctor(s) you have seen in the last year.
* Bring a list, with dosage information, for all medications you are taking. This goes for over the counter medicine, vitamins and supplements too.
And ask these types of questions:
- What are some of the possible causes for my symptoms?
- What kinds of tests might confirm a diagnosis you suspect?
- What treatments are available, and which do you recommend?
- What types of side effects can I expect from treatment?
- How can I best manage other health conditions I have?
- Are there any restrictions that I need to follow?
- Are there any alternative therapies other than the approach that you’re suggesting?
- Is there a generic alternative to the medicine you’re prescribing me?
- Is there educational material I can take home with me? What websites do you recommend visiting?