Understanding how you interact with your health care team can help you choose the doctor just right for you, which will improve your overall treatment and results.
To find out what kind of patient you are, take this quiz composed with help from several health-care experts who specialize in doctor-patient relationships.
1. When your doctor makes a recommendation for treatment, you say:
A. “Whatever you say.”
B. “OK. Is there anything I should know about this particular treatment?”
C. “What made you decide that’s the best treatment for me?”
D. “What are my other options?”
2. You get most of your health information:
A. From my doctor. She tells me what I need to know.
B. From many sources – television, magazines and online. But I rely on my doctor to help me understand it.
C. From sources I trust, which are very few.
D. Online. It’s the best place to find the latest information, even if it means I sometimes have to sort through questionable material to find the good stuff.
3. You’re most comfortable with a new treatment plan:
A. When my doctor tells me it’s my best option.
B. When my doctor explains why it’s my best option and writes down the plan for me to take home.
C. When it’s one I’ve devised myself.
D. When I’ve talked with my doctor, done my own research and consulted a specialist.
4. You ask your doctor questions about his treatment plan:
A. Rarely. I trust him to know what’s best for my condition.
B. Occasionally. I trust my doctor but sometimes want to understand his advice.
C. Often. And I don’t always follow his advice if I think he’s wrong.
D. All the time. How else am I going to be sure I’m getting the best care?
5. You’d get a second opinion:
A. If my doctor recommended it.
B. After discussing it with my doctor.
C. Only if I couldn’t avoid it.
D. Any time I felt my doctor wasn’t aware of new developments, receptive to my questions or fully aware of the impact of arthritis on my life.
Now for the quiz evaluation: If you answered...
Mostly As: You’re a Traditionalist.
Your health is important to you, which is why you want a doctor whose advice and prescriptions you can trust. To you, a good doctor is someone who will make decisions about your care for you, and you don’t second-guess his decisions with a lot of questions. Your ideal doctor is Dr. Paternal. This old-style doctor gives good, easy-to-follow advice and stays abreast of all the latest medical information about your condition so you don’t have to.
Mostly Bs: You’re an Informed Complier.
You consider your doctor an expert and place a high value on his opinion, but you also actively keep up with the latest research and occasionally ask your doctor questions about something you’ve seen or read. You like clear, easy-to-understand information that you can review on your own. Your ideal doctor is Dr. Guide. She takes control but encourages you to ask questions and do your own research before blindly following her recommendations. She’s open-minded about different treatments and usually keeps her waiting room stocked with pamphlets and brochures to help you learn more about your condition.
Mostly Cs: You’re a Skeptic.
You prefer having control of your own health and only visit the doctor when you absolutely have to. You do a lot of your own health research, but you don’t usually bring it up to your doctor and you don’t always believe what you read. Your ideal doctor is Dr. Low-pressure. He’s available by phone and e-mail and receptive to your questions and concerns. He asks specific questions, offers a simple, easy-to-understand treatment plan that follows national guidelines and doesn’t push you to try anything you feel wary about.
Mostly Ds: You’re a Manager.
You trust your doctor, but you consider yourself the first best line of defense when it comes to your own health. You actively seek out new information about your condition and often bring in articles and study abstracts to show your doctor. You come to every visit prepared with a list of questions. Your ideal doctor is Dr. Partner. Respecting your knowledge about your own health, she lets you take the lead during visits, outlining treatment options without making you feel rushed while you’re thinking them through. She stays up-to-date on the latest treatments and is open-minded about new and alternative therapies.