No patient wants to feel like his or her needs aren’t being met or that his or her concerns are being dismissed too quickly. A health care provider should take the time to really listen to what you have to say. Your concerns have merit, and you have the right to the best medical treatment.
How can you make sure your health care provider is really listening to you?
First, know that many providers have a limited time to see you. If an average appointment is 20 minutes, for example, you may want to ask about having two appointments booked back-to-back for a more leisurely appointment. While a shorter time helps doctors get in more patients, it can leave you frustrated when you don’t have the time to express yourself or feel you aren’t being heard. It’s okay to say you don’t feel like you’re being heard or understood. Talking to your doctor is a chance for your doctor to understand your symptoms and to understand if he or she needs to order tests.
What if you don’t speak the same language as your doctor?
It’s important to either choose a doctor who speaks your language or to go to a clinic that has a translator. If a doctor does not seem to understand something you are saying, consider bringing a translation you trust of your symptoms.
Should you switch doctors if you don’t feel like you’re being heard?
That’s a reasonable thing to do. In fact, many patients see more than one doctor to get a second or third opinion on a diagnosis or lack thereof. If you find that a past doctor has made a serious error, then you may have a right to file a medical malpractice claim.
Source: St. Louis Post Dispatch, “Doctor’s book has tips for getting your care provider to listen,” Feb. 10, 2017