Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The doctor filter

You have a doctor appointment coming up. To get prepared you come up with a list of all your medications. Then you come up with a list of questions or issues to ask the doctor about - and possibly write them down so that you remember to ask them all. If you are really good you might bring someone to write down the answers.

You get to your appointment and start asking all your questions. Is your doctor taking notes then or are they going to write down their notes after the appointment? I think this is a matter personal preference on the doctor's part. How much are they really writing? What are they saying? What are they disregarding as non important or irrelevant? How much are they filtering out?

I think there is a doctor filter in play. If you say, sometimes you are sore after working out - does that count as a health problem or something that is expected? Or if you ask about allergy issues - runny nose and sneezing - are they just going to write down allergy symptoms or lots of details?

They do need to filter to some degree. I mean sometimes you ask questions that they answer and they don't require further comment or action. Other times, a question may lead to more checking or follow up. It is their professional opinion of what is important and what isn't.

But it is you, the patient, who needs to keep track of the questions and their answers and is the issue now closed for you or does it require follow up? Or was it previously closed and now reopened? Part of your question for the doctor might include 'I had this problem two years ago and it stopped and I was fine but its been back for the past two months.'

I think the doctor filter is further proof that we the patients need to keep track of what is going on with our bodies. The doctors see hundreds of patients, you see yourself. Its your body and you need to be in charge.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You are absolutely right. I once got a stern lecture from an emergency room nurse because I hadn't been following up with the doctor on the level of Sam's medication. And the doctor hadn't told me anything. It was my job to monitor.