How to Prepare for a Doctor’s Appointment
These days, family medicine is a bit under siege. There are so many factors contributing to this, including an aging population with greater medical needs, as well as patients who are surviving with heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and diabetes but who need more care, more drugs and more time. Combine that with a shortage of family doctors across the country and medical students choosing to practise as specialists and you’ll start to see the problem.
To manage, most family doctors are booking patients every 10 to 15 minutes for a routine visit and slightly longer for a more-thorough assessment. Some of us have hired nurse practitioners and medical assistants to help with the volume and day-to-day management of patients, especially those with certain chronic diseases. Nonetheless, time is a luxury, and doctors don’t have an endless amount of time to spend with their patients.
That said, I feel that my patients and I are partners on the same team. Indeed, this is one of the reasons why I went into this profession: I appreciate collaboration. We may need to huddle and review the plays before going forward. We may bring in the special teams, coaches and other players. But the bottom line is, we are a winning team, and I’m with you all the way!
Teamwork is key. There are things you can do, too, to ensure a satisfying visit with your GP. Here are some of my suggestions.