Partnering With A Healthcare Team

When you have a chronic disease or illness, doctor’s appointments are a regular part of your life: to address new symptoms, check to see how treatments are working, and checkups. Having a good relationship with your doctor and healthcare team is important in order for you to make informed decisions about your treatment plan and share in the decision-making with your team.

Partnering with your doctor is a two-way street. Both people should be open to communication and questions. If your doctor doesn’t like you asking questions, isn’t open to shared decision-making, or takes offense to questions or discussion about issues, ask yourself whether you want that kind of healthcare relationship.1

Being an active partner with your doctor takes some work, but it’s well worth it. Here are some things you can do to ensure you and your doctor work together on your care.

Learn about AxSpa

Once you are diagnosed with an AxSpA spectrum condition, learning about your condition can help provide you with important information about the disease, how it progresses, what you might expect, and things to watch for. Being informed can help you develop questions about your personal health status and potential treatments based on your symptoms.

If you aren’t sure where to get accurate, factual information about your condition, ask your doctor what websites are best. If there is a support group, this can also be helpful in sharing practical information.

Prepare for your appointments

Sometimes doctor’s appointments can be very short, and you may not be able to ask all the questions you have or share your concerns because there was no time, or you forgot. If it’s the first time seeing a new doctor, bring all the information and medical records you have. If this is not the first time seeing this doctor, write down what’s been going on, any concerns and questions you have, any new symptoms, and any recent test results. Make sure you know the dosage and names of all your medications, including vitamins and supplements.

Be honest with your doctor

Your doctor can’t work with you in an optimal way if they don’t know the truth about your symptoms, health behaviors, or lifestyle. Talking with them honestly about these things can help both of you work together to troubleshoot reasons for symptoms or finding solutions for any issues that arise.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions

There is no such thing as a dumb question. Really – and especially when it comes to your health and healthcare. A good doctor welcomes questions, and it’s crucial that you understand what to expect with your condition, what your symptoms mean, what the doctor is explaining, how the medication works or how you should take it, what treatment entails, and anything else that you might discuss with them in the appointment.2 If you don’t fully understand or run out of time before you can ask all of your questions, tell your doctor you need more time to speak with them.2 You might be able to schedule another appointment to meet with the doctor or schedule a time to speak on the phone.

Find a doctor that works with you

If you find that your doctor isn’t a good fit, try to find one that is. If they’re not open to talking with you, don’t listen to your concerns, or it’s difficult to get an appointment or speak with them, it might not be the best fit for you. You deserve a doctor who will invite you into the decision-making process and support your part in your care. Together, you and your doctor can work together to construct a treatment plan that works best for you.

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Written by: Jaime Rochelle Herndon | Last reviewed: May 2020