By: Ryan Daigle ’17 University Health Center Student Health Advisory Committee (SHAC) President
If you go into a doctor’s appointment with a stubbed toe, and come out with a prescription for beta blockers, you may have just experienced poor doctor-patient communication. One of the best ways to maximize the benefits of your next Health Center appointment is by working to enhance communication with your care provider. Here are 5 easy ways to make sure you leave your next appointment feeling more informed about your health.
1. Be Prepared
Preparing for your appointment is a simple but powerful way to reduce anxiety about your visit. Sometimes, making a list about your concerns and thinking about how you want to address them can make your visit easier and allow you to get the most helpful information from your provider. If applicable, make sure you know the names of your past medications and contact information of previous providers that might be related to the reason of your visit. Also, try to get there about 15-20 minutes before your appointment so that you can budget some time for the check-in process and still make it to your appointment on time.
2. Be Honest
When talking to your provider, it is important to give them as much information as possible about your medical history. While it can sometimes be embarrassing to talk about personal stuff, it may be really important to share with your doctor. This information can give your provider a full picture of your health and help them make better recommendations and treatment plans! Also, if you are worried about your confidentiality, all providers are HIPAA certified, meaning they are legally prohibited from sharing your information without your consent.
3. Ask Questions
Ask ask ask! It is important to understand what your provider is telling you about your own health. Don’t be afraid to ask, “What does that mean?” if what they’re saying sounds too technical.
4. Follow Up
After meeting with your provider, follow all of their instructions to keep yourself healthy, especially if your provider orders lab work or prescribes medication. Your provider may also request a follow up visit, which is important to schedule as soon as possible. Be sure to contact your provider if you have side effects to medication or if your health condition worsens.
5. Take Our Survey!
After your visit to the Health Center, you will receive a Quality of Care Survey through email which will ask you to give feedback on your visit and your provider. These surveys are very important to the Student Health Advisory Committee, as we use them to see how the students feel and what issues should be addressed. We appreciate your response and want to make your experience at the Health Center as stress-free and helpful as possible!
By following these tips, your next appointment at the UHC will surely be a much more pleasant and informative experience!
This wellness blog entry was brought to you by the Student Health Advisory Committee (SHAC) – The student voice to the Health Center.
For more information about the University Health Center, visit http://www.health.umd.edu/.