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Power County Spotlight on Health

The Aberdeen Times of Aberdeen, Idaho

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Speak Up- Ask Questions!

Are you getting the most out of your visits with a medical provider? Are you getting the 'quality' time and answers you want from these visits? If you think there is room for improvement, then it's time to have a new strategy with your healthcare visits.

First, quality healthcare is a team effort and you play a very important role. One of the best ways to create quality health outcomes is through better communication with your healthcare team by asking questions. Your provider may know a lot of things, but not everything about you. Your questions help give key information about you and your most important concerns.

Because time is often limited during medical appointments, you will feel less rushed if you prepare your questions before the appointment.

So what questions should you ask? First, determine what you want to accomplish at your visit. Are you there to discuss a new problem? Change your medicine? Get a medical test? Talk about treatments or surgery? Write down your questions about your diagnoses, treatments, or medicine. This will also help you avoid the "deer in headlights" feeling of being unprepared or confused and instead allow you to walk away with answers to your questions to make better decisions and get better care.

During your appointment, be sure to use your list of prepared questions and start by asking the ones that are most important to you. Asking your questions is important, but so is making sure that you understand the answers you get! Take notes or bring someone to your appointment to help you understand and remember what you heard. If you do not understand or are confused, ask your provider to explain it again. Ask for written instructions, brochures, websites or videos that may help you learn more. You need to understand the plan for your care or next steps that your provider recommends to properly follow-up.

After you meet with your doctor, you will need to follow his or her instructions to keep your health on track. Your provider may have you fill a prescription, get additional testing, or make a follow-up visit. It is important for you to follow your provider's instructions. It is also important to call your provider if you are unclear about any instructions or have more questions.

It's no coincidence that patients who engage with healthcare providers and ask good questions can help reduce the risk of errors, hospital admissions, and even lower medical costs. Asking questions and providing information to your providers builds trust and leads to better results, quality, safety, and satisfaction for patients. So, speak up and get more involved with your healthcare by asking questions, communicating with your provider, and understanding your medical conditions for a better health outcome!

Dallas Clinger, PCHD Administrator

Copyright 2015 The Aberdeen Times, Aberdeen, Idaho. All Rights Reserved. This content, including derivations, may not be stored or distributed in any manner, disseminated, published, broadcast, rewritten or reproduced without express, written consent from SmallTownPapers, Inc.

Original Publication Date: February 25, 2015

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