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Plan Your Conversation.

“Do you understand everything we’ve talked about?”

Nods.

“Do you have any questions?”

Shoot.  I did, on the ride up here.  I had a whole pile of concerns and questions, but they disappeared awkwardly upon sitting in this chair.  And sometimes, even when I remember what I wanted to ask, I end up somehow caught up in the flurry of discussing medications, reviewing lab work results, physical examinations, and scheduling next appointments.

And admittedly other times my question stays at the back of my throat, either too shy to be asked or makes me feel weirdly vulnerable.

Despite feeling empowered as a patient and having a high level of health literacy, I sometimes sit in the doctor’s office and my mouth forgets to make words.

The team at the Patient Revolution (disclosure:  I’m on the board and also involved with content) has created a Plan Your Conversation exercise to help patients ensure that their concerns are addressed during their visit.

The simplicity of this exercise (created before I joined the team, so I’m not tooting my own horn 🙂 ) is where its power lives:  the action of writing down concerns and expectations makes them easier to articulate.  And hey, if you feel weird saying these things out loud, you can always physically hand the card(s) over to your clinician.  Whatever gets the words out of your face and into the discussion.

You can plan your conversation through the online tool or download a PDF of the cards to print out.  You can also watch this video about The Patient Revolution to get a feel for how storytelling is being brought to the forefront with this effort.  

Sign up for updates on the Revolution efforts here.

3 Comments Post a comment
  1. Leah M #

    This is a really important reminder. As a nurse practitioner, I try very hard to answer questions that the patient might have, and to ask before ending the visit if the patient has questions. I even write down the plan we discussed for the patient to review at home. But I still get calls back from patients with “one more question”, often one I already answered. This is frustrating as a healthcare provider, but as a patient I get it. Writing it down helps a lot, and I am happy to read the chicken scratch note patients sometimes hand me. Don’t be shy–even if you think it’s a stupid question, your doctor/nurse would rather answer it while you are in the office.

    03/29/17; 8:20 pm
  2. Martha #

    Knowing my own propensity to sidebar and get distracted, I always keep a running list of questions on my phone and glance at it REPEATEDLY during the appointment to make sure I get everything answered that I wanted to. Sometimes I start making the list for the next appointment right after the original appointment as more things occur to me.

    03/30/17; 2:22 pm
  3. Sally Numrich #

    I always email my doctor a few days before with questions or issues I want to address so he has time to review and research my questions so we have options to talk about. I also send my dexcom & pump reports for the previous two weeks. With the email he is ready with ideas/suggestions and we don’t forget things as I also bring in a copy of the email. Helps to keep us on track.

    03/30/17; 2:56 pm

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