- The Washington Times - Monday, May 24, 2004

Here is a list of recommendations for patients and doctors contained in the report “Defining the Patient-Physician Relationship for the 21st Century”:

For patients

• Prepare a list of questions and concerns you want the doctor to know about, and make the doctor aware of these at the beginning of the visit.

• Take responsibility for your condition and work with your doctor to find ways to improve self-care practices.

• Be in charge of owning, maintaining and sharing your personal medical records with all members of your health care team. Strive to obtain copies of test results and other useful information.

• Work with your doctor as a partner in all aspects regarding your testing and treatment.

• Enlist a friend or family member to serve as advocate on your behalf and be sure the doctor is aware of that person’s role so the advocate is included in decisions and instructions for care.

For doctors

• Be on time for scheduled visits and requests for information over the telephone.

• Consider asking a patient to communicate essential nonmedical information about his or her life in a social questionnaire that can be useful in weighing clinical and nonclincal decisions.

• Understand how the attitude of office staff and the waiting-room environment affect the patient.

• Encourage patients to be involved in self-care and suggest resources for them that are targeted to their knowledge base, culture and language.

• Stay objective when the patient discusses outside information impacting his or her health, including nontraditional therapies.

— Ann Geracimos

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