I am going to lovingly hang a sign in my waiting room.  It will read, “It is your choice to be a patient here today.  Let us make the most of your time. Let us make a health plan you will be comfortable with and honor.  May you be focused, open, and an active participant.”

I had an interesting week.  It was the kind of week where a common theme ran through several patients’ visits.  First, it was my surgical patient who decided not to schedule her pre- operative visit or return my phone call. I reached out to see if she planned to proceed with her surgery. Since I hadn’t heard back  from her I took the liberty to move her surgery to another date to allow space for someone who urgently needed a hysterectomy.  She finally called back to let my office know she was not happy that I only called her twice before moving her surgery.  I wondered, “How many times should one’s physician personally have to phone to confirm an upcoming surgical appointment?” 

In the next room awaited my twenty something physician skeptic.  It was a good day.  I was running practically on time.  She presented to follow up with me to discuss her Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.  It is one of those frustrating diagnoses with a paucity of treatment options.  I had seen her three months prior and prescribed a specific birth control pill.  Immediately when I sat down and learned she only used the pill for two out of the twelve weeks, I could tell she was very annoyed with my questioning.   Then it all became clear when she finally exploded in anger to inform me, "I just don't like doctors."

We spent the next fifteen minutes discussing why she disliked physicians and how we may be able to change her mind and perspective.  I challenged her to consider that most physicians are approaching their role from a place of care and concern.  I emphasized, I am here to help you.

We explored the concept of choice.  In a very deep way I took the time to challenge her to consider that her life is made up of her choices.  Ultimately, her approach to her health is her choice.  I empowered her to consider the following:

1.  It is You that chooses your physician. You have a choice.  The choice is yours alone.

If you are unhappy with the doctor you have chosen, be honest with yourself and find a new one.   

2.  You choose the state of your consciousness and intentions when you visit a physician to discuss a medical problem.

You must decide how you will approach the visit. We live in a society where many of us are now experiencing life through the eyes of the next review we plan to write.  Make a conscious choice how you will plan to show up for the consultation visit.  Will you have an open mind?  Are you filled with skepticism from the onset? 

3.  You have the choice to see the positives in your experience, or the negatives. 

Arrive with positive expectation. Give yourself enough time.  Have your questions ready.  Set an intention.  Expect and plan to factor in wait times if it is waiting that bothers you the most.

4.  If the negatives outweigh the positives, you have the choice to change providers, offices, facilities, medications, and your medical plan.

Change may not be immediate and wait times could be involved.  However, options always exist.  If you do not see them, reach out for help.  This may involve calling your insurer or pharmacy supplier directly for recommendations. If you are uninsured, speaking with the hospital billing office may present options.

5.  You have the power, responsibility, and the choice to answer your cell phone, check your voicemails and open your mail. 

6.  You have a choice to ask questions or not.  You also have the choice to fully understand the risks, benefits, and alternative treatment plans. 

7. You have the power to say No.

9.  Only You have the power and choice to take the medical advice you are given.

10.  It is your choice to what degree you plan to prioritize your healthcare needs.  Prioritizing requires a commitment to listening, engaging, understanding and participating in recommended treatment plans.

Honor Health Vow #4:

I Promise to Be an Active Participant in the Patient-Doctor Relationship

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