Bring a Notebook to Your Next Doctor’s Appointment
Exam rooms can be stressful places for patients. This is especially true in cases where patients are undergoing long-term treatments for chronic illnesses or serious injuries. For these patients, visits to the exam room are valuable opportunities to discuss their progress with their doctors and gain insight into what they can do to improve their recovery. Unfortunately, stress and anxiety can make it difficult for patients to retain information and remember to ask important questions.
A study published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine found that 40 to 80 percent of the medical information relayed by healthcare professionals is forgotten immediately by their patients. Perhaps even more troubling, nearly half of the information that is remembered is incorrect.
Our memories are more fallible than we’d like to think, particularly in stressful situations. In a medical setting, these lapses in memory can be downright dangerous. Patients might misinterpret the advice of their physician or misunderstand treatment options. That’s why it’s essential for patients to carefully document their doctor’s appointments for future reference. One of the easiest, most effective ways to do this is with a pen and paper. Or, if you’re a little more tech savvy, you might use a smartphone or tablet.
In addition to keeping track of information in your notebook, you can use it to bring prepared questions for your doctor as well. This can help you ensure that you get the most out of each appointment. It can also act as a valuable record in the event of a lawsuit.