Six Tips on Being a Prepared Patient.

Sooo, working in a doctor’s office has been interesting to say the least. Well I definitely don’t see myself doing it for very long, there have been a few positive take-aways especially with me being a lifetime patient. Sooo being on the other side of that counter, here are a few tips to make your Doctor appointments go more smoothly.

doctors

1. KNOW YOUR INSURANCE PLAN

“Do you have a copay?” “I don’t know.” “Are you trying to meet a deductible?” “I don’t know.” “Do you know anything?” I cannot stress on how important this is. I was definitely that patient for a long time who didn’t know jack squat about insurance, nor did I care. Then I got a bill in the mail for almost seven hundred dollars…yea. There are so many people who don’t know what they have, or why they have it. Are we supposed to know with our fancy computers? Not exactly, because there are hundreds of different versions of just Blue Cross Blue Shield with a hundred different mailing addresses. Can you imagine all the other insurances? Maybe within getting to know your insurance plan you will find exactly where you might be getting ripped off too. Just a thought.

 

2. BRING YOUR MONEY

Mainly in reference to number one, but seriously. I know you didn’t plan on getting sick, and spending twenty-five or forty dollars. But at least plan on picking up some cash, or bringing your health savings card. After seeing how hard doctors work, yes, they kinda do still need to get paid.

 

3. PHONE ETIQUETTE

The person that picks up the phone is most likely a secretary, receptionist, or an office assistant of some kind. The nurses are in the back with patients, so there is no need to tell them your life medical story of what has been going on the last week. We may seem rude to cut you off, but we need just the basics to hurry up and get your message into the nurse quickly so that she can be the one to listen, and figure out what to do. It’s not that we don’t care, or don’t think it’s an emergency, but we can literally do nothing for you other than hand it over to the nurse.

 

4. SPEAK BIG PEOPLE WORDS

No, we did not all take medical terminology, I get that. But telling me that you have been feeling “blah” tells me absolutely nothing. I need details of what exactly is happening in what area. Yes, its graphic sometimes because it’s the medical field. Can you imagine how a gynecologist feels?

 

5. ASK THE RIGHT PEOPLE THE RIGHT QUESTIONS

If you need to make a list of questions in a spiral notebook for your doctor, I would prefer you do that. Receptionists cannot give any medical advice, so don’t get mad when we don’t answer with anything but, “The nurse will have to tell you that.” We’re not rude, we just don’t want to get sued. Don’t ask a nurse, or Tech a diagnosing related question. Why? Because they have to be a doctor to diagnose you. They aren’t rude, they just don’t want to lose their job. Before I ever knew this I asked my sonogram tech the day I was getting diagnosed what she saw, and what was wrong. She quietly ignored me while answering, “well I’m just getting some pictures of your heart and the doctor will tell you.” I thought it was weird, but she handled it gracefully.

 

6. BE A PATIENT PATIENT

Yep, Doctors don’t always run on time. Not because they stopped for a latte in the morning (maybe they did) but in the meantime, they’ve had stitches come in, a patient had a heart attack, so on and so so forth. Your doctor’s appointment might take two hours, and you should know that risk when going in.

I hope this clears things up a bit on what is really going on behind the scenes of your phone calls, and visits. While it may be a frustrating part of life, doing your part to fix a few bumps in the road will help that greatly. Don’t forget to check out the new CONTEST under the contest tab, and the New SONG OF THE WEEK!

-haley.

 

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