The life in medicine is changing with increase patient load, less time allocated with patient's, increase overhead costs, and reduced compensation. But with an ever increasing importance on patient satisfaction and effective outcomes, I ask myself how can I give absolute impeccable services to each and every patient? When I was training in junior hockey each and everyday I would prepare to be called as the starting goalie next game. I would train two hours every morning on the ice, go to school, lunch time run 3 miles, return to school then hit the weights and plyometrics in the evening. This was my life for 3 years, amazing experience that I would never trade.
Dr. Martins during practice
Not only did I learn to be the best goalie I also learned the importance of being prepared. Prepared for the game, the puck, and my team. I see my health and my patient's medical conditions the same. My goal to is to provide great patient care and treatment. However, optimal results can only occur when the patient become a partner in their health care. What questions a patient ask is the ideal way to educate themselves and build a trusting patient-physician relationship. These are the questions i advise my patient's to think about:
Before you are seen:
Think about what you want to tell the doctorIf this is a follow-up visit for the same medical condition, are you better? Worse? What works best? What doesn’t work?What are your symptoms?What makes your symptoms better or worse?What questions do you have?Do you need a prescription refilled?During your visit:
Tell the doctor about:What you have learned about your condition from other sources.What you think the problem is.What concerns you most.Any tests or x-rays you have had and the results. Any health conditions you have such as diabetes or circulation problems.All drugs you are taking including prescription and over-the-counter medications, herbal products, nutritional supplements, and recreational drugs. (Make a list or put your drugs in a paper bag and bring to the office.)All allergies you have.Ask the doctor questions. (There are no “stupid” questions, please ask about anything you do not understand or would like to know more about.) Do I need to tell my other doctors about this visit and care?Are there other options for treatment? What’s good and bad about each option?How long will it take to get better or heal?What medications do I need?If you don’t understand the doctor’s instructions or explanations don’t be afraid to ask for clarification.Tell the doctor if you can’t follow the treatment plan he/she suggests. For example, if the plan of treatment interferes with your work schedule or family obligations. Together you may be able to work out a plan that you will be able to follow.If you are considering surgery, ask the doctor to explain the procedure, the benefits, the risks, the costs, and alternatives to surgery.I understand patients forget to ask and that is why I give each patient my email address to send me any non-urgent questions. But, in both sport and health care preparedness and knowledge are keys to success.
Darryl J. Martins D.P.M., FACFAS
100 S. Cooper St.