Five Tips for Sharing Research with Your Doctor
The following article is excerpted from Working with Your
Doctor: Getting the Healthcare You Deserve By Nancy Keene,
copyright 1998, published by O'Reilly & Associates, Inc.
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granted to print and distribute this excerpt for noncommercial use
as long as the above source is included. The information in this
article is meant to educate and should not be used as an
alternative for professional medical care.
Feel the urge to look up information on a new diagnosis or a chronic
condition? In-depth, up-to-date Information is more readily available
than ever these days. However, once you find the information, how do
you best share it with your doctor-making sure that you get listened
to and get your questions answered, without offending your doctor or
getting blown off?
- Tell your doctor why you're doing it. Perhaps your goal is to be an informed patient who makes good decisions or to reduce anxiety. Say something like, "I've found that information gives me comfort. I'm going to spend some time reviewing the newest research and treatment options. I'd like to come discuss these options with you to get your viewpoint."
- Warn him ahead of time when you'll want to discuss findings, and make sure that your next appointment leaves room for that discussion.
- Make sure the doctor has copies of the materials you want to discuss, well ahead of time. Find out if he'd like you to fax the articles or drop them off at the office.
- Label articles with their source. This is particularly important with online sources. Don't say, "I got this from the Internet" which some doctors equate with misinformation and scams. Rather, say "This is from the April 1998 issue of JAMA" or "This is from a non-profit organization that specializes in my illness."
- Be assertive but friendly. Try to project the sense that you and your doctor are on the same team, with the same goal--working together to improve your health. If you respect your doctor by giving him adequate time to read and digest the material, and then have a reasonable discussion, you both benefit.
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