Learning how to be “A+ Patients”


The doctor said, "What?!”, Who knows?  I waited 2 hours and saw my doctor for ten minutes…

We have all been victims of the medical system but that can change.

Students are given a syllabus, a “rules of the course” before they start a class.  Patients can be trained to be excellent scholars of medical practice.  Jumping from a forty-year teaching career into medicine taught me a few lessons on how to train an unskilled patient to be a great patient.

When I started practicing medicine as a family practice physician's assistant, it was shocking to see that patients truly didn’t understand the medical process.  They didn’t know what to expect.  If they did have expectations, did they line up with mine?

Trained, you say.  What does that mean?

Well, after a few months of frustration, I decided it was time to train my patients and tame my practice, just like I did my classroom.

Teachers show their students how to be A+ pupils, professional athletes do not start strength training without learning how to lift properly, pilots do not just get in an airplane and fly, drivers must learn the rules of the road before getting behind a wheel. So why aren’t patients trained to master the medical system?

In medicine, we talk about communication and how providers can improve.  A great proposal, but do one better. Patients love to learn so I train patients on the practice of medicine and the pleasure of working together unfolds. Developing into long-lasting, respectful patient relationships brings medicine back to the ultimate joy it was when we all started medical training.  Patients love the idea of knowing who they can trust and talk to. And it is because they understand, the fear and anger are gone and the communication now leads to happier healthcare outcomes for all.

The patient understands ALL the treatment plans, diagnosis and follow ups needed for better outcomes. 

Suzanne Fiscella writes her blog Patient Best® and trains patients through her Patient Best® Medical History Book and FREE Online Course: which can be found here, online for the first time!

About the Author

Do you feel frustrated with your medical care? Do doctors spend 5 minutes with you, push you out of the office, with you wondering what's going to happen? Does your insurance deny paying? You're not alone. I'm frustrated, too. This is a growing trend in healthcare. Having seen pre-insurance medicine (yes, my dad was an old country doctor), I grew up watching him spend time with his patients, giving them the best care he had to offer. I saw families trust him to help them through hospitalizations and the next crisis. As a patient advocate, my job is to see that you get the right diagnosis, the right treatment plans, and the right supplies and education to make good decisions about your health. More importantly, I will teach you the tricks of the healthcare trade. We need more healthcare consumer protection, especially for chronic illnesses like diabetes. This is what I am passionate about. I make it happen every day with thousands of patients who now know what I know about beating the healthcare system and getting the best patient care...Patient Best.

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