Communication with your primary care provider

There is strong evidence that effective communication between you and your primary care provider (whether you see a physician, nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant) is essential for healthy aging. When the doctor-patient relationship works, patients experience better health outcomes. 

Why is good communication with important?

Research shows when patients are happier and reassured, they understand their health challenges and are more likely to follow a treatment plan, if they have a good understanding of their illness and the medical treatment designed to keep them as healthy as possible. Clear communication improves health outcomes and strengthens the patient-doctor relationship. Trust and confidence in one’s doctor comes from clear effective two-way communication.

Direct Primary Care allows for unlimited email, phone, telemedicine or in-person access to their provider and longer appointments to address all patient member needs. 

Tips for talking to your healthcare provider

Even if you are a great communicator or you want your provider to understand you better, here are some tips to assist you to maximize your visit.

1. Bring a list 

This helps you to prioritize your concerns whether they be medical problems, fears, or worries. A list can add quality to your visit as it sets an agenda. 

2. Be honest

Being honest with yourself and your provider is important. Remember your conversation with your PCP is confidential and nothing is off-limits, make them aware of any challenges in your life both medical and other stresses or feelings that you are having. A full picture of your overall wellbeing will allow your provider to assess lifestyle factors that might contribute to your health. 

3. Ask questions

If your PCP uses a term that you do not understand, ask them to explain it. You should ask as many questions as you need to understand your PCP’s advice. You may also wish to repeat the answers so that your PCP knows you have understood what they have said. When provided with instructions, if needed, you can request that these are provided in writing.

4. Work together

By working together, it is a win win for both you and your provider. Share your worries, understand your options and work together to understand treatment options to provide the best outcome for you. 

By allowing for longer visit times, Direct Primary Care allows time for your PCP to listen to you and give you time to have your questions answered and provide clarity about your health and how best to maintain it. It is proven science that a good patient-primary care provider relationship will improve one’s life and lead to a longer healthier life. This relationship depends on time to build the relationship and good communication. 

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