Getting it all: How to make the most of your doctor's visit.
Last year, my son suffered a severe brain injury. After his injury, we were scheduled for our follow-up visit with the neurosurgeon. This would be my first opportunity to sit down with the doctor and have a conversation about the injury and any possible repercussions. The only other contact with the surgeon was in the middle of the incident and in the hospital the next day. During that time, things were quite chaotic and we were still processing everything. I wanted to use this appointment to make sure that I had all of my questions answered and also that I would remember the answers! I find taking notes during visits to be a bit of a distraction so I was considering recording the conversation so that I could refer back to it later on.
For those affected with ichthyosis or any other chronic condition that requires frequent visits to doctors and specialists, you want to make the most of your doctor's appointments. Because you have your doctor's attention for only a few brief minutes, it's too important to come away with all your questions answered. Is recording your appointment with your doctor a good idea? Recently, an article was published in American Medical News that addresses this very question. It seems opinions on whether taping is a good idea or not vary. Physicians may not be as open with dialogue if they are being recorded. Could the conversation be used against them in a potential lawsuit? Could a patient record without the physicians' knowledge with the same goal? With the HIPAA laws, is confidentiality an issue? On the flip side, perhaps a doctor might spend more time with a patient if he or she knew she was being recorded.
This issue is rapidly coming to the forefront of medical practices and there is no clear cut answer yet. Whatever you as a patient decide, it’s best to have clear questions written down to facilitate the discussion. Also, make sure to ask follow-up questions if you don't understand something. Remember, it's your time too and you want to make the visit count.
Amy Coolidge, is the mom of three beautiful children affected with Trichothiodystrophy (TTD), Drew, Madison, and Chase. Amy has some suggestions for questions that you can ask your doctor. First of all, ask about what symptoms or issues you should look for that might require a follow-up, especially if you are changing treatment protocols. Also, talk about every little detail that you have noticed. It could be the difference between a little virus and full-blown pneumonia.
I ultimately decided not to record my appointment, but wrote down all of my questions and made the doctor answer each one and wait while I took notes. Maybe he would have preferred to have the visit recorded and be shorter in duration... who knows.
Here is the link to the original article in amednews.com, if you wish to read it.