WOW | Heart Health

HOW TO GET BEST OUT OF YOUR DOCTOR ?

It is obvious that lot of effort and trust is needed while seeking medical treatment from a doctor. You might be casually choosing a doctor on some one’s recommendation or you must have read his /her name in a magazine or watched him/her on television. Many patients might know nothing more about their doctor. One should make some effort to know what degree, training, qualification your doctor has. The choice of doctor is entirely yours. Once chosen you should avoid changing your doctor frequently. In general, a doctor whom you have been seeing regularly will have a strong sense of responsibility for your good health.

Role of General Practitioner /Family Physician

In today’s fast moving world and media coverage, we all have a tendency to visit and directly question the specialist. This may not be the best thing to do. There is a great role of your GP/ family physician. A physician will understand you better as he has seen you since long. He knows your family history. He may assess you as a whole and refer you as and when you need to see some specialist. If you can choose one good physician for yourself and your family then you do not need to know all the specialists. This doctor of yours will take the entire responsibility and will help you in choosing the right specialist when you need one.

Know Your Disease

You should know your disease well. Do not shy away from the facts. Know the facts about your disease and accept them. Many diseases like high blood pressure, diabetes or heart diseases have no real cure. Yet, you can keep them under control and enjoy a good quality of life. If you think you might forget to ask, you can make a list of questions and ask your doctor. Try not to learn too many things from media, internet, friends or relatives. Your doctor knows your disease well and will be happy to satisfy all your doubts.

How To See Your Doctor

You should ask your doctor when you need to come for the next visit. Even if there is no new problem or symptom it is advisable to keep a regular follow up. Ask your doctor what is the best way for communication, telephone, email, mobile, texting messages, etc. Do not expect your doctor to know your entire medical history while taking your call. Avoid asking for medical advice in parties or on phone. Small errors might be risky for your health. If you are not feeling well rush to the emergency with all your previous files and medicines.

Your Medication

You should know your medications, doses, actions and possible side effects. Most of the medications for heart diseases and other diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure are for life and thus it is important that you know them well. Also you shouldn’t stop or change them without consulting your doctor. If your appointment is postponed and you are running out of your stock of drugs you should purchase a refill. You should carry your prescription to the pharmacy to purchase the drugs. Since we don’t have strict regulations for the sale of drugs, we have a tendency of going to shop without the prescription and serious mistakes can occur. During a follow up visit, it is a good idea to periodically cross-check the medicines with your doctor. It is very important that your doctor knows precisely all the drugs you are taking.

Your Local Doctor

Even if you have needed some treatment outside your city, it is crucial that you go back to your local doctor and keep him updated. At the time of any emergency you will need your local doctor’s support. You might give the contact details of the specialist doctor and make them discuss about your condition, if the need arises.

Your Financial State

Medical science unfortunately has become very expensive today. Because of lack of health insurance, the financial aspect of the treatment is of great importance. You should not shy away from talking about your financial capacity with the treating doctor. There may be options of cheaper methods of treatment and economical public hospitals. Depending on the situation, your doctor can guide you appropriately. Very expensive end stage care plan can be avoided if finances are limited.

Need A Second Opinion?

It is natural to feel little scared if a surgery has been advised. You may not be completely satisfied after seeing a doctor who advices admission or an expensive procedure. In both such situations it is advisable that you frankly share your feelings with your doctor .Ask him to suggest another expert. It is perfectly legitimate to seek a second opinion. It is your right to satisfy yourself completely. While choosing another doctor it is imperative that you do not select a lesser qualified expert. Also, remember it is a natural tendency to look for a doctor who could say that a particular procedure is not needed! This may not be always safe. While an alternative opinion can be satisfying and reinforcing, too many opinions can be confusing and can cause delay in the vital treatment that might be needed.

A bond of trust is essential between the patient and the treating doctor. Unfortunately it seems to be lacking today. Both suffer because of this. Medical profession can be very gratifying if a doctor could treat patients like his own family members and has no anxiety or fear of any offensive behaviour from the treating family. This is indeed possible and good for everyone.


Bharat Rawat
MD DM FAPSIC FACC FSCAI (USA)
Associate Director Cardiology
Medanta Super Speciality Hospital
Indore MP