Lauren and I talk with potential clients every week and, unfortunately, it is clear to us many patients fail to ask their doctors some very important questions before deciding on a treatment plan.
We are all “consumers” of health care and, as such, we need to be as knowledgeable as possible, and unafraid to ask questions before medical decisions about treatment are made.
1. What is my diagnosis…in terms I can understand?
2. What tests are needed? What are the risks of those tests? How will the results determine my treatment plan?
3. Why are you prescribing this medication? What are the side-effects? Does this drug interact with other medications I am currently taking? Are there life-style or diet changes which would have the same effect as taking the drug?
4. Why do I need surgery? What happens if I do not have surgery? What are the risks of surgery in general and what complications have you specifically encountered in performing this surgery?
5. Do you mind if I get a second opinion? This is really not a question…it is a must do if your doctor is recommending treatments the complications of which can seriously alter or even end your life.
My Take: If your doctor doesn’t have the time or is not willing to answer these important questions – FIND ANOTHER DOCTOR.
For additional reading on this topic, please see the article, “Questions for Better Care” appearing in today’s Wall Street Journal