Have you ever had laryngitis and lost your voice?
That happened to me in my job as a Health Advocate. The only thing I could do was drink extra fluids and rest my voice until I finally recovered.
During my recovery, my voice was useless. I was frustrated when the phone rang, and I realized I had trouble helping my clients. It’s hard to work as a health advocate when you need your voice to serve your clients well!
Many of my clients reach out to me because they need my “voice” when they feel unheard by their healthcare provider. At a typical healthcare appointment, we as patients only get to speak for an average of 12 seconds before the physician cuts in to offer advice.
It’s no wonder we feel as though we have lost our voice!
We often say we are going to see the doctor, but really what we want is for the doctor to hear us. Have you noticed that during the average 15-minute appointment, your doctor is often distracted by the computer?
They may be looking up lab tests, reordering medications, or completing the mandatory requirements for electronic health records at the same time they should also be listening to you.
You explain why you’re there. You go over your symptoms. Already, you feel like you’re off to the races, and you’re probably right. Research says you get only seconds to talk before the doctor jumps in with a word, question, comment, or redirect.
A recent study found that 75% of doctors believed that they communicated satisfactorily with those in their care. Only 21% of the people treated by those doctors said that their talks went well. – WebMD
So, how do you get your “voice” back when you are fighting to be heard? Here are a few solutions:
- You can arrive at your appointment prepared with one or two concerns that need to be answered.
- If your doctor loses focus on your concern, it is appropriate to calmly return the conversation to what brought you into the office.
- If you are intimidated by questioning a doctor, you may consider bringing along a trusted family member or a professional advocate to speak up on your behalf.
Severino Health Advisors is there to be your voice. We can accompany you to your appointments with prepared questions for your healthcare provider, advocate for you, and ensure that your voice is heard. Call us for a free 15-minute consultation today, (717) 561-2720, or contact Susan and her team at: SeverinoHA@comcast.net.