Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Doctor Visit...More Bang for the Buck


Medical personnel are the pickiest patients I know. Being a perfectionist and a RN, I’m the pickiest patient I know. I have a zero tolerance policy, zero tolerance against sloppy medicine. I do understand that people do make mistakes and are human. Although at times, I’m anything but human. Just ask my husband! But it is the sloppy, lazy, type of mistakes which are the types of things I don’t put up with.

So you must know that I have a primo set of doctors that I go to see. When you hear my list of what makes for a great doctor you’ll know that I have high standards. Some would say they are impossible standards; but, then those are the ones that are no longer my dogs doctors. There are some great doctors on my list. When I find them, I let my insurance companies know who the  truly excellent doctors are and which ones stink. Do they care? In a word, YES. Will it force some doctors to change the way they practice medicine? Yes, I've seen it happen. FYI- For a while I worked as a RN in an insurance company; but that is another story...

My doctors must be an excellent:  diagnostician, have a fantastic bedside manner, be compassionate but tell it like it is, be up on the latest innovations in their specialty or know who to refer you to who is, be completely honest, treat you as an equal, never talk down to you, explain things in terms you understand, allow time for questions, congratulate you when you meet jointly agreed on health care goals (i.e. lowered cholesterol levels, positive lifestyle changes, etc.) and never act like they are in a rush. My doctor must also walk on water and make me the ideal body weight with a wink of his eye. See I want it all. Darn, I still haven't found one that can do the last two. There just isn't one on the face of this earth!

See, I do expect it all a great deal from my doctors but then I know what doctors expect of me. They expect me to come prepared. They expect a concise reason as to why I am seeing them that day. As a diabetic, I am expected to be able to tell them what my blood sugars have been running and what it is that day. I also have asthma; I am expected to know my peak flow and since I have a pulse oximeter, I also tell them what it is reading that day.  If I am symptomatic of “something” like the flu, they want the low down on when it started, and the nitty-gritty on all the symptoms, duration of how long things have been going on and any other information (cough, drainage, discharge, hot and cold running green snot…). I jot down any questions I have I order of priority (so if time is short I know which ones must get asked and what can wait or be asked later). I bring a list of all my prescriptions, dosages, list of which ones need renewed, pharmacy phone and fax number (the office can handle this at their leisure if they are running behind). 

Speaking of behind (no not mine, it is easy enough to spot), call the office prior to going to your appointment and ask if they are running behind. There is no point in waiting in an office if the doctor is running behind or if the computers are down and they were going to call you to cancel. It is always better to know before you go. If they are, tell them that you will be coming in x-amount of time later since they are running behind or they will give you a primo appointment at another time. Sometimes, the office will get so use to your doing this that they will let you know if this is an issue. They may even call you earlier in the month  if there is a cancellation and they can get you in sooner just as a nicety or fit you in when you really need to be seen . 

I am a respecter of my doctor’s time. When I am getting to know the office, I find out what the length of time is allotted for an appointment. If they ask why, I explain that I want to be a respecter of the doctor’s valuable time. I watch the clock and try to make certain I’m not going over my allotted time if at all possible. This keeps the appointment professional on both ends. Because I respect my doctor’s time, my time is respected too. There have been times when we have finished early and taken a moment or two and gotten to know each other a bit better. This helps the overall relationship be better for the both of us.

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