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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!

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