Tuesday, 28 August 2012
How to Influence Your Treatment
The patient-doctor relationship is central to the delivery of healthcare on a worldwide basis. This relationship has been changing in most developed countries in recent years in that patients are now more open to question courses of treatment outlined by doctors than they were previously. This is a positive step in the delivery of healthcare to consumers (patients). A good relationship has honesty, mutual respect, trust and confidentiality as its core values.
The first thing you need to get your doctor to do in relation to a health problem, is to summarise all the different approaches to its resolution. If the doctor is proposing a prescription drug be used in the treatment of your problem, you need to ask if there is an alternative to this approach. Diet, exercise, water, food supplements, holistic, homeopathic and herbal remedies have all been used successfully to treat some health problems. If people have been successfully treated in the past for the ailment in question without drugs, let the doctor know you would prefer the non-drug route if that is how you feel.
If the doctor insists that a drug is the only option in dealing with your health problem, then you need to ask the following questions:
1. Who manufacturers the drug?
2. Is there an equivalent drug on the market by another drug company?
3. Why the preference for the specific drug proposed?
4. Does the drug address the underlying cause of the problem, or merely provide a temporary respite from the symptoms?
5. What side effects are stated by the manufacturer for the proposed drug?
6. What side effects did other patients report after taking the drug?
7. Is the drug only proposed as a short-term measure?
8. What is the long-term solution of the problem?
By questioning your doctor, you need to establish two things: if there is a bias against natural or alternative treatments for health problems; or if the products of one particular pharmaceutical company are favoured over others. Unless you totally trust your doctor from previous experience, you should try the questioning route as a consumer: you have a right to have all the alternatives fully explained to you at the outset having paid, one way or another, for the treatment you are receiving.
The better informed you are about alternative courses of treatment for your problem prior to a visit to your doctor, the more you can influence the course of treatment decided upon by mutual agreement. Visiting online resources such as The Mayo Clinic, Health Insite, MedlinePlus and CHIS –UK can help you to understand the different options available in contrast with orthodox medicine.
If you go to the surgery unprepared in any way about your condition, then you are generally putting yourself at the mercy of what conventional medicine has decided for your condition. In such a situation, a course of treatment for a health problem can get very biased dependent upon the attitude of the medical establishment in the particular part of the world you live in. If you don’t believe the last statement, then go and read my March post titled “ Why One Person’s Ordeal is Significant.”