|By PR Newswire||
|August 28, 2013 06:15 AM EDT||
NEW YORK, Aug. 28, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- When receiving a diagnosis, many patients are unprepared, finding it difficult to comprehend complex medical details about their case. Doctors are a critical resource, but when most appointments average just 11 minutes, there isn't much time to diagnose, build trust, and provide specific information in an understandable format. When patients have questions prepared, it can make a significant difference in their healthcare.
"Say your doctor makes a recommendation that seems aggressive. Be ready to ask why, and where you fit in the assigned guidelines," says Michael Vassar of MetaMed, an independent consulting service that provides comprehensive personalized medical research.
Vassar listed 7 Important Questions to Ask Your Doctor:
"Is my diagnosis complete and correct?"
Almost half of second opinions differ from the original diagnosis, so it's essential to know precisely what the diagnosis means.
"What do my test results mean?"
Nearly all laboratory tests have the potential for false positives or negatives. Ask what the statistical chances are of a test result being accurate, and if there are other testing options.
"Which risks should I worry about?"
Mathematical models can determine which environmental, behavioral and genetic factors are known to worsen symptoms and by how much.
"How will my disease progress?"
Doctors can help determine which best and worst case scenarios are likely to apply to an individual patient, enabling the patient to plan for the future.
"What are my relevant genetic factors?"
A patient's gene variants may predict how they'll react to a medication, or whether they're likely to pass a disease on to their children.
"What does the literature say?"
Patients should be informed of data from alternative or international research that could be applicable to their case, and which 'breakthrough studies' have been confirmed as true or false.
"What treatment options are right for me?"
Doctors may know which non-FDA approved drugs have had positive results (as well as associated side effects), and which clinical trials might be applicable to a patient's condition.
"Quality health care is a team effort, and doctors are there to help patients determine what's actually going on," added Vassar. "The information they share can have a huge impact on a patient's mental as well as physical well being."