Would You Like To Be Your Physician’s Favorite Patient? – Part One

By on July 23, 2013
woman shaking her healthcare provider

By Beth Havey –

Some Tips to Help You Get There

Today I finished a series of physical therapy appointments to strengthen my back.  When I was saying goodbye, both the physical therapist and the PT assistant hugged me and wished me well.  I’m an RN and know the value of a healthy relationship with all members of a medical staff.  But even before I became an RN, I counted on good communication to help me get the care I needed.  Even to this day, my former obstetrician recounts that I’m the only patient he ever had who sent him a five-page letter before my first appointment!

Well, that was extreme but as I went through fertility treatments with this doctor, his staff more than once referred to me as his “favorite patient.”

That doesn’t have to be your ultimate goal, but getting good medical care can be assisted by a positive approach on the part of the client/patient.  Here are a few tips to start you out on the right foot

  1. It’s a fact: if the doctor’s staff likes you, ultimately the doctor most probably will too and you’ll get better service.  When beginning a relationship with a doctor and his office staff, remember that even the phone call to make the appointment counts in this relationship.
  2. Have your calendar handy when you call so you can confirm a time and day that accommodates you and works with the doctor’s schedule.  The staff member you are talking to obviously knows the doctor’s availability, so be as flexible as possible, especially when making a first appointment.
  3. If the staff member answers the phone, This is Renee, it never hurts to thank Renee and use her name while you are setting up the appointment and providing your insurance information.  If you don’t get a name, ask for one.  Your polite behavior will be noticed and Renee just might move things around to accommodate your schedule.
  4. Once you have your first appointment with this doctor, you will find out if she ever schedules emergency appointments and how that works.  Some docs will direct you to a clinic or other physician if you need help outside of office hours.
  5. Most doctors today have answering services that notify the physician or nurse on call who can trouble shoot and give you advice.  The number to call is usually the one you use for appointments.  But make sure.
  6. Of course in a true emergency dial 911 first!
  7. When providing your insurance information, you will probably have to give the staff member your social security number—at least for the first appointment when your chart is being set up.
  8. Have all your insurance information right there when you make the call.  Your doctor’s staff will contact the insurance company for you.  But in order to have things work smoothly, you should know what your coverage consists of before you make the appointment. You don’t want to be in the middle of a treatment plan and discover that you are responsible for payments.
  9. Remember that most medical insurance policies do not cover dental; most people have to have a special dental policy.  Some aspects of vision care are also not covered by your medical insurance.
  10. If you need a payment plan or financial assistance for medical care, it doesn’t hurt to inquire if the doctor sometimes allows this.  You would then meet with one of the doctor’s staff, possibly the office manager.  Be polite and have with you the necessary paperwork that the office asks for.  It’s better to take care of this before bills arrive in the mail.
  11. Another Golden Rule is to be five minutes early or right on time for your appointment.  Yes, often doctors run late, but if all patients were on time, that would help office staff and doctors keep things moving.
  12. When seeing a doctor for the first time, you will probably be asked to arrive 30 minutes ahead of time to complete necessary paperwork.  It can be a daunting task and you will need the time.
  13. For that first visit have your medical insurance cards with you.  Bring a list of your current medications and all the vitamins and supplements you are taking (I sometimes forget this part!).
  14. If you are feeling ill or are in great pain when you arrive at the doctor’s office, you should probably have someone with you who can help fill out the paperwork.  Sometimes medical offices have a separate waiting area for ill clients.
  15. When you finally see the physician (even though you might have had a long wait) be polite, extend your hand, say your name and call the physician by name.  A relationship succeeds on warmth and understanding.  She might be running late because she took time to help a client ahead of you.  If she gave that patient time, then she will also give you her time.  Guaranteed, she will have a very long day.

Dr. Jill http://www.kevinmd.com/blog/2011/07/patient-tips-office-visit.html.

 

Beth Havey is a Boomer, member of the sandwich generation, passionate about health and the snags in the fabric of life that affect our children and grandchildren.  Help me slow life down on BOOMER HIGHWAY www.boomerhighway.org. Be sure to stop and to chat with her.

 

 

About Beth Havey

Beth Havey is a Boomer, member of the sandwich generation, passionate about health and the snags in the fabric of life that affect our children and grandchildren. Help me slow life down on BOOMER HIGHWAY www.boomerhighway.org. Be sure to stop and to chat with her.

2 Comments

  1. Does Whey Protein Work

    February 7, 2014 at 9:12 am

    This was very helpful information – thank you.

    • Beth

      February 28, 2014 at 6:57 pm

      So glad that the info was helpful.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Would You Like To Be Your Physician’s Favorite Patient? – Part One