How to Develop a Positive Relationship with Your Heart Doctor
Those of us who suffer from heart disease know the value of establishing a positive relationship and trust with your cardiologist. Receiving a heart disease diagnosis can be frightful and unnerving; but when you have a trusting, positive relationship with your cardiologist, the experience can feel a bit easier to handle.
How to find the right cardiologist
Instead of relying on Google to find you the best doctor in your area, try talking with your friends and family first. If referrals are coming up short, Dr. Susan Bennett, a cardiologist at Washington Hospital Center and MedStar Heart Institute in Washington, D.C., recommends calling a local hospital.
“Hospitals are usually great at giving referrals,” she says. “Your primary care physician can also be an excellent source.”
At your first appointment with your new physician, pay attention to their bedside manner. Bennett says a good cardiologist will ask probing questions and try to sift out the most important details of your medical history. They will also address prevention. Throughout your conversation, take note if you feel rushed.
“A good doctor will spend time with a patient to answer all of their questions and concerns,” she says.
Important: don’t worry about changing doctors. If you feel like your physician isn’t the right fit for you, switch without hesitation. From the doctor’s perspective, Bennett says the change usually ends up being the right thing for the patient and the physician.
How to be a good patient
Honesty is the key to a positive patient/doctor relationship. While it can be intimidating to share the dirty details of your family medical history, your eating habits and your exercise regimen (or lack thereof), all of those pieces of information are vital components to the overall picture necessary for your cardiologist.
“Some patients will want to sidestep important issues, which can make it difficult to establish trust in the relationship,” Bennett says.
Coming prepared to your appointment will also strengthen your kinship, she adds. Upon booking your next meeting, sit down and write your list of medications with exact dosages. That way, there won’t be any confusion the next time you see your doctor.
“In addition to medications, take note of any heart-related symptoms that you are suffering from,” Bennett says. “Anything you can tell us can help in our treatment of your condition.”
Learn more about finding a heart doctor on Go Red For Women.