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My Health Counts! Partnering with Your Doctor

More on Partnering with Your Doctor

Many people don't have close relationships with their doctors anymore. Finding the right doctor can be tough in a confusing health care system, and the journey can leave some people feeling uneasy about the care they receive. Getting peace of mind about health care begins largely with finding the right doctor—one who values relationships based on openness and trust and provides high-quality care.

Building and growing a good partnership with your doctor or any member of your health care team is similar to building a relationship with a life partner or business partner. The fundamental elements are the same—communication, honesty, openness, trust, expectations, accountability and competence. A good partnership develops over time and requires commitment.

Poor communication is the biggest factor in poor relationships, whether it's a partnership between spouses, other family members or friends, co-workers, or doctors and patients. Good communication really boils down to two things: respect for each other and the ability to manage expectations. Empowered patients come into their appointments with questions and ideas about what they want to get out of the visit. Empowerment is something patients must claim for themselves. No one can bestow it upon another. So, how do you take the first step? Let your doctor know your goals. At your next appointment say, “I want to take a more active role in my health and healthcare. Are you ready to work with me on this partnership?” Remember, your doctor is the expert on medical care, but you are the expert on yourself, working together you'll find the best solution!

More on the web about partnering with your doctor:

Quick Tips--When Talking with your Doctor

The single most important way you can stay healthy is to be an active member of your own health care team. (from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality)

Partnering with Your Providers

Your role as a partner on your healthcare team. (from Trisha Torrey, Every Patient’s Advocate)

Find a Doctor Who Will Be a Partner

A primary care physician such as a family medicine doctor or an internist who knows and understands your needs can be your most valuable health partner. (from WebMD)