Good, clear communication between patients and their health care providers is absolutely essential, but many people have had the experience of coming out of an appointment feeling more confused than when they went in. It is not unusual for people to report that they do not fully understand their illness or what they should do to manage their condition effectively, even though they have had several meetings with their health care provider.
Although there are many factors that can contribute to the problem of poor communication between patients and providers, patients can use a few key strategies to overcome these obstacles, and the benefits of adopting these strategies are well established. People who take the initiative to improve communication with their providers receive more factual information from their providers, are more likely to follow through with treatment recommendations, and report greater satisfaction with the care they are receiving. A key point for patients to always remember as they prepare for medical visits is that most important issues can be covered during a meeting with a provider if the information is well organized and presented in a direct, clear manner.