Understanding medical conditions can come with a variety of questions, and like health insurance, finding the right group of doctors for yourself can be quite time consuming. It is important to know how your insurance works and what’s available to you under ‘The Affordable Care Act’ as far as preventative care. One must take responsibility while advocating for their own health today, especially since most doctor offices are crowded with patients. Many doctors are on overload, and like us, can become frustrated when running behind on their schedules or called out for an emergency; we are all human. It’s truly essential for you to be your own advocate in today’s world.

Beginning with your primary doctor, having good communication is ‘key’ in order to establish the doctor/patient relationship. For those that must deal with multiple doctors due to diseases, cancer or other issues…always keep them informed about your current health and who is treating you, as well as a list of current meds. If you have any concerns whatsoever you should be discussing them at the time of your visit; make a list of questions and concerns prior to your appointment time. Preparing yourself beforehand can maximize your office visit. As for specialty doctors…they’re far and few in between today, so once you find the one you need, don’t be surprised at the wait; it’s usually months for a new patient.

If you’re unhappy with any of your doctors don’t be afraid of them, be assertive, not aggressive. Sometimes we (as patients) feel intimidated, but the truth of the matter is they aren’t any different than us. They too can make a mistake or forget something we may have told them, so it’s best to remain at ease, and discuss it together. If matters don’t improve and you feel uncomfortable, seek out another doctor; just like in life…we don’t always get along with everyone. Never be afraid to get more than one opinion; a good reason to always keep and maintain your medical records.

Times have changed in the medical field and like everything else…there is good and there is bad; it’s important you check a few things before you decide to make an appointment. Information on doctors can be found at www.healthgrades.com and www.vitals.com , here you will find out where they studied, did their residency, what special honors they may have acquired and what offices (locations) they’re linked with. Having knowledge about a doctor prior to seeing him or her can often alleviate some unwanted stress; it’s the unknown factor that makes one nervous.

Some problems in the field arise when communication is lacking; whether it’s between staff, doctors, nurses and patients. This too can lead to a misdiagnosed medical problem, as I’m sure you’ve heard a story or two. Bottom line here…we all need to be informed better when it comes to our health, or a loved one. Not all doctors are created equal in their fields, as some may take a very different approach to any given problem. Don’t be afraid to change doctors if you’re not feeling right about something, it is your body and you only get one. Time is of the essence … literally.

Make your week count.