Becoming an Informed Patient


We all know the scenario. You are sitting on the exam room table waiting to hear back from your doctor. You are nervous. You may or may not know what is going on with your body. The doctor just ordered a bunch of tests, and you are not fully sure of the reason. You just know that he or she said you needed them, so you said, ‘Yes.’

Soon the doctor comes in and tells you the results of your tests along with his or her diagnosis. He or she then gives your treatment plan which may or may not include prescriptions. Then come the pamphlets with information about the drugs you are being prescribed. He or she then tells you how long and when to take each medication. Next is ‘The Side Effects Conversation.’ “Please call me if you notice any…<insert list of eye widening and potentially alarming possibilities>.

You then leave with a lot of information but not a lot of understanding. The conversation with your physician may seem very one-sided. Sure, you could be one of those patients that did a Google-search on your symptoms and saw 18+ possibilities. You could do another search for everything that you may recall your doctor talking about. You could look up the prescriptions he or she handed you. You could do hours of research. You could even try to sort out all of the credible sources from the not-so-credible ones.

However, that doesn’t necessarily change much. You are still (HOPEFULLY) going to do as your physician has told you, to the best of your abilities. However, you may find that some of your treatment instructions don’t quite mesh well with your current lifestyle. You may find that you don’t respond to the medications as you thought you would have. You may find out more information from your family about a distant relative that had a similar situation. You may find out later that your current medications are NOT supposed to be taken with your new meds.

All of these questions and concerns could be hashed out with your physician if you had known to ask these questions…

That is why we are here. At LabSolutions, we want you to be an active participant in your health. You shouldn’t just take what your physician says without asking questions. You should know which questions to ask, what tests you are providing a specimen for, and what your meds are really doing in your body. Your physician can talk with you about all of this if you are willing to participate.

So when he or she asks…

“Do you have any other questions?”… or … “Are we good?” … or … “Do you understand?”

You should be ready to ask whatever questions you need in order to ensure that you get the best results. At minimum you should ask questions like…

“Are there any lifestyle changes that I should be aware of?”
“Do these meds respond better if I take them at a specific time of day?
At the same time every day?”
“Should I take these meds with food or without food?”
“How soon should I see results?”

Questions like these inspire more collaboration with your physician as opposed to the usual passivity they see on a daily basis. That is the goal of this blog from LabSolutions: to inspire people to become more informed patients, who are more proactive and collaborative with their physicians when it comes to their health.