Communicate effectively

Your provider's ability to determine what is wrong and how to treat it depends almost entirely on communication.

From scheduling an appointment to wrapping up your visit, effective communication will help ensure that you get what you need. Here are a few communication tips:

Know how to make appointments.

The communication during this step is crucial. When making an appointment with your physician, nurse practitioner, or integrative provider, explain the reason for the appointment, so the receptionist knows how much time you'll need. Be as clear as possible but remember that you don't need to give a full health history or disclose any private information.

woman on cell phoneHere are some good examples:

  • "My knee has been bothering me for several months and I would like to schedule an appointment within the next week or two to have it evaluated."
  • "I've had a cold for a week and now I feel worse with a high fever and pain. I would like an appointment today."

Feel unsure about whether or not you actually need to see a healthcare provider? Then speak to a nurse or to someone who can help evaluate your concern and determine when you should schedule an appointment.

In other words, ask for what you need on the front end, and your time with your provider will be more useful.