Through blogs and comments, patients and experts explore what it takes to find good health care and make the most of it.

Patient Perspectives: Unspoken Rules


When Cassondra Webb needed a pediatrician for her new daughter, she did what many of us do'she asked one of her other doctors for a recommendation. It turned out that Cassondra and her ob-gyn valued different things, and she soon switched pediatricians. She said, "You want to make sure that your child's doctor and you are on the same page'And don't be afraid to go to another doctor." Here is a helpful list of questions that can help you decide if a doctor and the office is right for you.

'Warm Socks,' a blogger with Rheumatoid Arthritis, knows what she wants from her doctor and his practice. When a friend asked for advice on a good doctor, she gave specific details about what she values from a practice and a clinician: same-day appointments, a waiting room policy, billing only after the insurance claims are processed and informing her when/if she will be seeing a doctor or a nurse practitioner. As for her doctor, he listens without interrupting, explains things thoroughly, reads reports from specialists and treats her 'like a person.'

Journalist Anne Polta on HealthBeat ' notes the small things that are often overlooked in a doctor's visit because these things are familiar to providers but unfamiliar to patients, such as knowing when the visit is over, knowing where to pay the co-pay, and how to get test results. Polta mentions Jessie Gruman's recent piece where Jessie described her experience with her chemotherapy nurse who expected her to know the unexplained rules of the clinic, like when to send an email versus calling, when to speak directly with her chemotherapy nurse or another staff, and when to call the oncologist directly.

A couple of years ago, CFAH and colleagues created a model guide for patients and caregivers that identified the basic information that people need to engage'  with a medical practice. Knowing "the basic ground rules" of your care facility and those who work there "would tell us how to work most effectively with them," Jessie said in her post.

By: Goldie Pyka and Sarah Jorgenson

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Inside Healthcare   CFAH Staff   Communicate with your Doctors  

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