Communication is part of the foundation needed to achieve the best outcome with your chiropractor or any healthcare provider. Studies have shown that patients who effectively communicate with their doctors report more beneficial health behaviours, fewer symptoms, and a higher quality of life. Effective communication with your doctor will put you on the quickest path to recovery.
Meeting a healthcare provider for the first time or starting a new treatment plan can be stressful. It may even leave you somewhat apprehensive on how to talk with your chiropractor.
Here are some tips to help you better navigate the patient-doctor relationship.
Benefits of Good Patient-Doctor Communication
Understanding how to best communicate with your doctor can improve your overall experience. It can also make it much easier for healthcare providers to understand your concern. Some of the benefits of good patient-doctor communication include:
Good communication improves outcomes. Researchers found that patients who effectively communicate with their doctors make more appropriate medical decisions and and have better health outcomes
Speaking up improves patient safety. Poor patient-doctor communication increases the risk of medical errors. In fact, experts state that speaking up is a critical behaviour for patient safety.
Barriers to Good Patient-Doctor Communication
Sometimes, it can be difficult to establish good patient-doctor communication. Common barriers can include:
Low literacy levels with many patients. Fully grasping complex medical information and terminology is hard for many adults. And if you don’t understand the medical information, it's harder to communicate clearly with your doctor.
Patients forget or misremember medical information. Remember the game where one person whispers in the ear of another and the message is passed from one person to the next and by the end the story is completely different then when it started? Research shows that:
40%-80% of medical information is forgotten immediately.
The more you hear, the lower the proportion remembered.
Almost 1/2 of what you do remember, you remember incorrectly.
Doctors and patients might not be on the same page. One study found that patients and doctors frequently differ in their understanding. At Couve Health, our doctors and healthcare professionals have strong interpersonal skills which result in better doctor-patient communication.
8 Tips To Improve Communication with Your Chiropractor
Now that we’ve covered how to establish good patient-doctor communication, let’s explore how you can communicate with your chiropractor. These 8 tips can help you more effectively communicate with your chiropractor.
Prepare for appointments ahead of time by writing down your “story” and your questions. Be open and honest about health history, including details such as any surgical procedures or allergic reactions you have ever had. It’s important to also share any health concerns that pertain to your family history.This will allow your chiropractor to understand your unique case.
Be sure to bring a list of any medications you may be taking, as well as the dosage, and any healthcare issues or concerns you may be currently experiencing or facing.
Be an actively engaged member of your medical team! At Couve Heath we believe in customer-centric relationships. We encourage you to ask questions and be part of the decision making process.
Don’t be afraid to speak up. Have you ever had to explain the noise your car is making to a mechanic? If you’re not mechanically inclined it can be challenging to explain the noise and location it stems from.This can be similar when experiencing pain too. You know it hurts, but you can’t quite identify where or what the pain is. Don’t worry about this. Chiropractors are trained to look for nonverbal as well as verbal cues when dealing with patients in pain. At Couve Health we are experts in treating the whole body, not just focusing on one area. We understand that at times we need to look beyond the obvious to identify where the real source of pain is generating from.
Repeat back to the doctor a summary of what you heard, and ask if you have a proper understanding of what was said.
If you leave the doctors office with a recovery plan, make sure to ask for a printed plan.
If something doesn’t seem right, speak up!
Learn how to access your medical records, so you can keep track of test results, diagnoses, treatments plans, and medications and prepare for your next appointment.
Remember, our goal as healthcare experts is to help you recover and live pain-free. Be secure in knowing there is no judgment. Be open, honest and willing to learn when you talk to them and you will gain an effective path to recovery.