I have been thinking for a while now how to make the patient visits more time efficient-especially so for pediatric patients of mine.
I would like parents & child to be prepared -so that we make most of the time spent together in the clinic.As the practice gets busy -either overbooked or dealing with a complex medical issue,I would not like any child /parent to leave the clinic with any questions.Of course I can always be contacted on email or phone later for small queries.
As soon as we talk of parents being prepared many parents think they need to gather information from internet,bookstore or tv.I do not mean this at all!
It is not uncommon for me nowadays to meet a parent or patient who starts with their symptoms ...& somewhere in between .. "But I do not have this symptom of tonsillitis "..,Basically they compare their symptoms with the diagnosis they think they have & do what I call "Match the Following"-matching their list with the one mentioned on the net.
I have compiled a small list of how to prepare for doctor visit..
- Good communication is a two-way street.It's good to ask questions, but let the doctor know that you want decisions, diagnoses, and prescriptions to be based on the best decision for the health of your child, not what's easier for you or makes you feel better.
- Explain the purpose of the visit to your kid & do not make it look like punishment.
Tell the child the doctor may look in to her /his ear ,throat & nose.May listen to the chest or check the tummy.In younger children-a pretend game at home works!
- Let the child participate in making the list of symptoms & questions to be asked.
- Be specific-write them down before the visit.Now this is very important for me as a doctor.For eg it will help if you say :my baby had 102° Fahrenheit (39° Celsius) temperature rather than "he is warm"!
- Be informed & focused.Do not distract the doctor by discussing non urgent issues
- Follow up..Follow up ..Follow up -If adviced. Doctor may have noticed some mild issues which they may not discuss [many times it may unnecessarily worry parents] but ask to follow up.Simple issue like ear fluid related hearing loss-follow ups are important as hearing loss can lead to learning delays.
Hope its helpful....