(Originally posted on Feb 9, 2021)
Perspective changes everything without changing the situation itself.
It is like taking that selfie while moving your hand around until you get the right angle for the perfect picture. You are probably wondering, what does this have to do with health?
That correct angle is actually what matters when your doctor makes your diagnosis. To get that angle, there are many factors that come into play and most of them depend on the art of communication.
For some conditions, common things are common and doctors over the years have the skill of a spot diagnosis. We need a little information, but when we have a good visual of the problem, we can make a diagnosis with up to 100% accuracy in a short space of time. In all other circumstances, including those requiring a little more facts to confirm our suspicion, the information the doctor actually receives matters. This extraction of vital data depends on the doctor asking questions in a manner the patient will understand, in a manner the patient feels comfortable with and the ability of the patient to share information in a way the doctor will understand.
Many times patients do not understand the relevance of the information in a clinical setting, they feel embarrassed or simply we forget to say what we wanted to say when we are with our doctor. There are also many external factors that affect the consultation as well. Some have to do with the doctor’s schedules, work demands and personal factors on both sides of the consultation. Personal factors include current stresses and past experiences which influence our moods and behaviours without us being fully aware.
But what can you do to improve the quality of care you receive from your doctor during that 15 minute visit?
Here are three (3) tips to get the best from your interaction with the healthcare sector:
Be consistent Continuity of care is one of the most overlooked aspects of medicine. Having one doctor to manage your health and wellbeing over many years adds value and can be lifesaving. This type of doctor will be your GP or Family Doctor and they will get to know you on a different level. The information gathered over the years will provide a perspective that another doctor, who is seeing you for the first time, will not have. There is significant benefit in that but also relies on this same doctor doing your check-ups at least once a year when you are well.
Know yourself Some of us use Dr. Google to find out about our medical problems. While that is understandable and easy to do, there is actually a better way to find out what is happening. It is ‘self-reflection’ and I can’t emphasise enough how important this is to good health and wellbeing. By paying attention to your bodily cues and following your instincts, you will become the expert in your body. Paying attention to your social circumstances and relationships are also a vital part of understanding triggers for stress which can lead to multiple physical symptoms. If you know yourself well, listening to your instincts should trump information from external non-medical sources. If you feel something might be wrong, then turn to your trusted doctor to help you navigate through your problems and concerns.
Prepare for your doctor’s appointment This is an extension of the recommendation above. Self-reflection works better when you write about the specifics of what you are experiencing. When it started, how it started, where it started or anything you think might have caused it, even if you think it might sound silly, it is still important to note down. Having a clear idea takes away from forgetting or saying the ‘wrong’ things that can actually change the way the doctor decides on the most likely diagnosis. Simple things like time and place are very important when arriving at the most likely cause of a problem. You should also prepare your concerns, and what you might want out of your doctor’s visit as these are also important. The major benefit is that you are more likely to leave the office with a peace of mind if these are addressed by your doctor.
Out of our understanding of the above, Noor Corporate Health has a different strategy when managing your health, as our aim is to bridge the gaps in healthcare, so our patients can have happier and healthier lives. Achieving good health and wellbeing takes time, and we walk with you to help you attain your life goals. Our health and wellbeing consults can be half an hour to one hour, so we have time to explore your life and concerns. If you are someone who is committed to the journey towards better health and wellbeing, reach out to us today for a personal invite or visit our website for more information about our concepts, services and projects, www.noorcorporatehealth.com. Looking forward to a healthier future.