Is your Healthcare Provider right for you?
Whatever your need be - orthopedic, primary care, chiropractic, physical therapy, etc, finding a healthcare provider can be challenging. Trusting a healthcare provider is crucial. “Breaking up” with a healthcare provider can be mentally taxing. But why? Why does this all matter.
First and foremost, healthcare is and should be about YOU the “patient”. There is no shame in seeking a second opinion, finding a new provider (even after years together). I am going to discuss why finding the right provider is crucial for your long term success.
1. Are you able to talk about your concerns openly, without interruption?
The average time it takes a practitioner to interrupt a patient when talking ranges between 11-15 seconds. The average time it takes the average person to get to their point during a medical visit is >50 seconds. Read these numbers again and think hard about this - when you see your provider are you able to get your thoughts, concerns out - including WHY this issues are important to you and your life?
2) Are you motivated to make changes that are recommended?
We’ve all heard recommendations from our providers. You should do your home exercises. You should exercise regularly. You need to change your diet. Etc. etc. etc. How many of you reading this already know these recommendations are going to be made? If you’re anything like me, if I’ve been slacking on working out and eating like crap - I know this, I know I need to change it. I need someone to help me see WHY its important and help me plan HOW I can do it. And I’m well educated and trained in this area - but still need someone to help me, hold me accountable, etc. I am human. You are human. Your healthcare provider should not only tell you the obvious, the not so obvious, the good, the bad, the ugly - but they should help you GAME PLAN how to make this better. This may be with providing you resources (reading, other providers, etc), recommending other practitioners to see (nutritionist, personal trainers, etc), or having a heart to heart about why these changes may be difficult.
3) Does your provider willingly and openly communicate with other providers? Or on the other end - do they criticize other providers?
A red flag for me and healthcare providers is if they are unwilling to talk with other providers. Listen, we all have days that are quite full, most, if not everyday. However, communication between providers to allow for consistency of care, to unify the messages / information we give you and to think together significant chances outcomes and patient experiences. Unfortunately this communication tends to take a back seat due to the demands of a work day (patients, documentation, insurance company needs, etc). Healthcare providers need to and should understand those situations that need to be discussed and those that do not - thus end up utilizing valuable time. However if providers are open to the lines of communication that are available (and follow HIPPA guidelines) - text, email, phone calls, etc - there is no reason there cannot be good communication.
4) Are you treated like a patient or a customer?
In today’s day and age there is so much focus on business over treating people like people. How many times have you found that a practice is a “machine” and you are in and out of an office - medical field or not. When you do feel the most comfortable - most will say when they are look at as a person, treated like a person, the provider “went above and beyond”. If the medical field is a business, then people should be treated like customers.
5) Do you feel your opinion matters? Are you thoughts entertained?
So I’ll say this right out of the gate - this does not totally mean you are diagnosing yourself via looking on google. But it does mean if you have some thoughts or have read somethings - that at least your provider will discuss this with you or explain why that is false (or true) and to help you truly understand your body and what is going on. If you feel belittled or motivated that trust with the provider has been breached and it is crucial to work through that.
6) When you leave your providers office do you feel motivated, comforted and positive?
Positive breeds positive. If after any visit to which you went with a “problem” you walk out and feel that there is plan, you have at least a small understanding of what is going on with your, and more importantly how you will work with your provider to improve your situation - that is a good session. If you walk out feeling down on yourself, like there is no hope for your condition, or that you are uncomfortable with the plan you need to chat with your provider again and/or seek another opinion. There are obviously very serious health issues that may arise in life, but it is well documented that feeling you are in the right hands and having trust in your provider frequently .DOES impact the outcome.
In summary - finding a healthcare provider that is the “right fit” for you is crucial. It will enhance your outcomes, improve your outlook, and keep you accountable for your own actions. Continuity of care is key - so finding someone that you can stick with or has a network of trusted providers is important.