|HOW TO SPEAK DOCTOR:
STOLZER, MD, EDWARD
We've all been there. It's easy to get distracted while sitting in a paper gown with the wind blowing at your open back. Listening to a doctor can sometimes be like watching a foreign language movie without the subtitles, especially when he or she is discussing technical details about a health condition.
"When your health is at stake, it's important to break through the communication barrier with your doctor," says Barbara Emery-Stolzer, MD, internal medicine physician with Edward Medical Group. "Asking questions until you understand is one way to do that," she adds.
The following questions from the AARP are a start:
About a specific diagnosis:
- What exactly is wrong with me?
- How do you know?
- What caused the problem?
About recommended tests:
- Why must I have the test?
- What exactly happens during the test?
- How do I get ready for the test?
- Does my insurance cover the test?
About recommended treatments:
- What types of treatments are available?
- What are the benefits of each?
- What about risks?
- Are there any side effects?
- Which is the most common treatment for my problem?
About recommended medications:
- What kind of medication are you prescribing?
- What will it do?
- How do I take it?
- For how long should I take it?
- What should I do if it doesn't help?
- Are there any possible side effects?
- What should I do if I have side effects?
- Is there a generic version?
- Will it interact with other medications I'm taking?
- What precautions do I need to take while I'm on this medication?
"Don't be afraid to continue to ask questions until you understand what your healthcare provider is saying," Dr. Emery-Stolzer said. "He or she may need to be reminded to explain things in non-technical language," she added.
Edward Hospital advocates that all patients play an active role in their health.