Medical providers are caring, capable professionals often stifled by a strained system that’s guided by reimbursement and productivity. It’s critical you understand the appropriate role medical providers play on your health team and also the barriers inherent in the system that prevent you from receiving the absolute best care possible.
You are the CEO if your health and should be the person directing your care and making the decisions. You deserve to feel heard, respected and validated. Your symptoms and goals are unique to you and should be integrated into the overall healing plan.
Gender Disparity in Healthcare
There are studies suggesting that pain is undertreated in women through all branches of medicine by both male and female medical providers. This leads to a phenomenon called the “never catch up syndrome” where women may receive delayed testing and treatment, compared to a similar male, and will therefore be susceptible to a lesser outcome and quality of life.
The first step is to be aware of the unconscious and systemic biases impacting women. Next, stay curious about how it could be present in your specific interactions with your medical team. Lastly, know that you have an active role to play and that you can step into your rightful role as CEO of your own health care. How To Be The CEO Of Your Health (and get the most out of every medical visit).
No one knows your body better than you – even your doctor.
See Yourself As The Authority
No one knows your body better than you – even your doctor. You work with the doctors and specialists who guide you to understand what is going on and give you options, but you are the final decision maker. Have a vision for your desired outcome before you visit the doctor; if you are not clear about what you want, it’s more likely you will ultimately feel dissatisfied. When the doctor walks into the room, stand up so you are at eye level. Your body language and positioning will communicate that you are an equal partner in making the plan.
If you were the CEO of a business you would dress accordingly, be on time and sit at the head of the table. How can you embody those qualities as a medical patient?
Build a Team You Trust
Remember that your health care providers are working for you. You may be limited in who you can see due to health insurance restrictions, but there are still options. Get second opinions and meet various providers until you “click” with someone. You deserve to feel that you have a personal relationship with a provider who shares your goals.
Be Prepared and Present
Have all of your questions written down and rehearse what you want to say; ending a long-awaited appointment without asking everything you needed to is disappointed and could lead to unnecessary appointments. Take a few grounding breaths in the waiting room or before you start talking to the provider.
DR. CRYSTAL FRAZEE, PT, CHWC, C-IAYT