How to Be a Good Patient
Joseph S. Galati, M.D.
Liver Specialists of Texas and Your Health First
713-794-0700

www.texasliver.com and www.yourhealthfirst.com

1.       Being a good patient isn’t by chance-it’s an active process

a.       Learn about your problems

b.      Understand the medicines you take, how they work, and certain side effects they may have

c.       Read about ways to reduce complication related to your problems, such a diet, nutrition, and lifestyle changes.

d.      Have copies of your medical records (especially if referred to a new physician).

2.       When going to the physician, dress comfortably. Wear clothes that you can easily get out of.

3.       Expect to be examined by the physician. Don’t talk while the stethoscope is on you!

4.       Prepare for the doctors visit

a.       Bring a list of your medications.

b.      List current complaints or problems on a sheet of paper.

c.       Prepare no more than 3 key questions you need to ask.

d.      Bring a buddy (friend or relative)

e.      Understand the plan before you leave.

f.        If tests are ordered, make sure you know what they are for?

g.       If new medicines are prescribed, make sure you know why? Do they replace an existing medicine, or work side-by-side with existing drugs. Are there new side effects to be aware of?

5.       If you are referred to a specialist, you need to know what the specific problem is that will be addressed.

6.       Research out new physicians you are referred to. Beware of on-line services. Inquire about education, years of experience, affiliations, and how often they see your particular condition.

7.       Get to know your doctor’s office staff. Who is there assistant, nurse, or physician assistant they work with who might be able to answer question afterwards.

8.       Ask if they physician e-mails?

9.       Ask how results are handled?

a.       Phone

b.      Mail

c.       E-mail

d.      Follow-up visit

10.   Understand your insurance policy.

a.       Co-pay policy

b.      Deductibles

c.       Co-insurance (secondary policy)

d.      Covered benefits

11.   Know when it is time to return for a follow-up visit.

12.   Realize that most complaints with physician offices are over poor communication-including poor communication on the part of the patient.

13.   As a patient, it is your responsibility to remain involved in your health and wellness.