Build a Solid Doctor-Patient Relationship

Doctor and Patient Bonding in Exam Room

Every year, people schedule 1 billion health care appointments. Over a lifetime, that breaks down to several hundred appointments per person.

That’s a lot of time spent in an exam room. To maximize those minutes and get the best care possible, a strong, solid doctor-patient relationship is important. Building that bond takes time and effort, but the result is worth it. When you invest energy in a health partnership, you get a provider who fully understands your medical history and can make personalized treatment recommendations.

Even if you only see your health care provider a few times a year, you can and should create a solid doctor-patient relationship that leads to your better long-term health.

Why Does Doctor-Patient Relationship Matter?

Your health affects almost every aspect of your life, protecting it means you must rely on a highly trained expert. So, finding a doctor who best suits your needs is important.

Once you do, it’s equally important to begin building and nurturing a strong partnership. If you’re going to feel comfortable discussing your private health details, you’ll need that kind of bond.

Every good doctor-patient relationship is built on four factors:

  • Mutual knowledge
  • Loyalty
  • Respect
  • Trust

This question is, how do you, as the patient, successfully build this type of relationship with your doctor? Fortunately, several strategies can help you create a solid partnership.

8 Ways to Create a Strong Partnership

Your health care provider is committed to giving you the best medical care possible. By being a proactive participant in your own care, you can make their job easier. Try these tactics to build a successful partnership.

  • Schedule targeted appointments: Most health care appointments last 15 minutes. That’s enough time to address one, maybe two problems thoroughly. Pick the top concerns you want to discuss with your doctor before your appointment. If you have time left, you can move on to other topics.
  • Share your end goal: Let your doctor know what you want from your appointment. Be clear that you want to partner in your care.
  • Be honest: Be truthful with your provider about how you’re feeling, as well as your lifestyle and habits, such as smoking or taking your medications inconsistently. They need accurate information to create the right care plan for you. Withholding details can lead to incorrect diagnoses or delayed treatment.
  • Use available technology: The days of waiting for an in-person appointment are in the past. Technology now makes it easy to share your symptoms and the severity of any problems before you walk into the exam room. Take advantage of your online patient portal to send as much information as you can before your visit. It will streamline your appointment and give your health care provider more time to address all your concerns.
  • Fill out forms early: Many practices ask you to update your health information with each appointment. Filling out these forms can take time, but they provide valuable information that your doctor can review ahead of time. This information can also influence the care you receive. If you can, complete any forms through your online patient portal before your appointment.
  • Pay attention and ask questions: Some health problems and treatments can be complex. Listen closely to what your health care provider says. Don’t be afraid to ask them to repeat something or explain it differently. It’s essential that you understand your condition and any medical treatments—and it’s their responsibility to make sure they answer your questions thoroughly.
  • Bring a buddy: Consider asking a family member or friend to join you at your appointment. As a second set of eyes and ears, they can ask questions, take notes, and help you remember what your health care provider says.
  • Keep your appointments: If you schedule an appointment, show up on time and bring all your medication information with you. Call the office if you’re running late or won’t make it. Your provider will appreciate the opportunity to offer your appointment time to another patient.

Benefits a Good Doctor-Patient Relationship

By using these strategies, you can build a mutually beneficial relationship with your provider. And stronger doctor-patient partnerships can impact your health and health care in several ways.

  • Better personalized care: The better your doctor knows you, the more they understand your specific health conditions. They can use that knowledge to recommend medications or treatment options that address your unique needs.
  • Effective communication: Over time, investing in this relationship may make you feel more comfortable sharing person or intimate details. This open, honest communication could lead to earlier detection of problems and may help your doctor develop more targeted treatment plans.
  • Sticking with treatment: Strong partnerships can also foster greater trust. The better you know your health care provider, the more likely you are to follow their recommendations. Sticking to their instructions can improve your health outcomes and make it easier for them to identify the next steps in your care plan.
  • Less stress: When you know your health care provider well and trust their advice, you will likely feel less stress and anxiety about your health. Having more confidence in your health care can lead to better mental well-being.
  • Greater understanding of conditions: When you’re honest about your concerns, your provider can offer more information to help you understand your health status. If you know more about your condition, you notice changes faster.

You rely on your doctor to safeguard your well-being. Investing the time and energy to build a partnership will boost their ability to meet your health needs. These strategies can help you reach that goal.