- Do you understand the information you are getting from your healthcare team?
- Are you having trouble expressing what is concerning to you?
- Do you have questions but forget to ask them during a visit?
Good communication is essential to getting the best care from your healthcare team. Read on for some handy tips you can put into practice to support good, healthy communications with your care team.
Quite candidly, you need to be candid
The most important take-away to improve care with your healthcare team is to be honest and upfront with them—even when discussing sensitive topics. Being candid about your needs, expectations, and any and all issues you may be experiencing allows your healthcare team to better support you.
Here are some tips for keeping the lines of communication open between you and your various care partners.
Make your time together efficient
Today, doctor visits can seem rushed. In fact, many people spend less than 16 minutes with their doctor during an office visit.1 If you’re feeling rushed, you may lose track of all the things you want to discuss with your doctor. To stay focused and on topic during a visit, bring pre-written questions or concerns with you. That way you can use them to guide conversation with the doctor and remind you of important questions you want to ask.
You may also find that jotting down notes—either during or immediately after an appointment—helps you remember your doctor’s recommendations. If this type of reminder is helpful to you, don’t be shy about bringing a pen and paper with you into the examination room.
Consider bringing a friend or family member to your visit
Another way to help with notes is to bring a close friend or family member with you to some appointments. This can be especially helpful for people who worry they’ll forget to ask an important question or think they may not be able to remember the doctor’s advice on their own. Think of them as a backup set of ears and/or memory bank to ensure you get everything you need from the visit.
Keep track of how you're feeling
Your healthcare team will want to know how you have been doing in between appointments. Sometimes, it’s hard to remember things you want to discuss while you’re there. It can be helpful to keep a health journal. You can write down how you have adjusted to taking your treatment, any symptoms you’re noticing, and descriptions of how you’re feeling emotionally. (Making note of the date and time that you experienced an issue, how long it lasted, and how severe it was are good details to share with providers.) Looking for a tool to help keep track of symptoms? Download the Symptom Tracker.
If you have any serious concerns that can't wait until your next appointment, you should contact your physician immediately.
Get helpful tips to track your health from Ambassadors.
Do a visit recap
- What was the overall result of the visit?
- What do I need to do next?
If labs were done or ordered, when/where do I go to get them? When will I get the results?
- Healthcare portal
Having quality, two-way communication with your care team can support your physical and emotional health. It may not always be the easy, but honesty is always the best policy. Because, the more you tell your team about how you’re feeling and how you are adjusting to therapy, the more they can help you.
If you have a question or concern, but are unsure who to turn to, MS One to One is there to listen and do their best to point you in the right direction.