Doctor’s Orders: Tips for Remembering Your Doctor’s Instructions

doctor's instructions

Doctor’s Orders: Tips for Remembering Your Doctor’s Instructions

In this post, Michael shares his story in the hopes that it will help others.

I escorted my brother to visit his orthopedic surgeon. Johnnie had been experiencing lots of challenges in his recovery process from a major operation. I accompanied him because I really understand the complexities of comprehending treatment information and doctor’s instructions instantly, especially recalling the crucial details. We needed to document what the physician said for future reference. The more information Johnnie had concerning his condition, the higher the possibility he had to make uninformed choices about treatment alternatives.

My brother was in great pain, something that complicates someone’s ability to remember information even in normal circumstances. My other aim was to make him feel more comfortable. I had a feeling that the office visit may incorporate some sophisticated and potentially stressful information and care instructions. As a consequence, I decided to use an app on my iPhone to record whatever the surgeon said. I also wished to ask the physician’s permission to proceed with the recording but made a decision to do away with it because he may not have welcomed such an idea.

Some doctors may not react favorably if their patients’ ask to record the conversation. My brother’s surgeon was reputed for carrying out highly successful operations but was not as well known for his bedside manner. He had always been kind to us, but since my brother’s recovery had been characterized by bouts of severe pains, I thought that audio recording could have annoyed his surgeon. That would have adversely affected the physician’s interaction with Johnnie.

Within only seven to ten minutes, we had to ensure that we had gathered all the necessary information for the visit to be fruitful. I wanted my brother to be out of pain. I took some notes instead of audio recording. Healthcare providers are quite aware that their patients experience anxiety, especially in the exam rooms. Anxiety compromises the cognitive function, specifically memory, making it hard to process or remember the medical information or care instructions.

Forty to eighty percent of treatment information provided by healthcare professionals is immediately forgotten by patients. Fifty percent of information recalled by the patients is not correct. That is such a small percentage that you would think physicians need to hand out their personal recordings to patients at each hospital or office visit.

It can actually assist with discharge arrangements from the hospitals. Theoretically, it should be acceptable for any patient to record treatment conversations with their doctors. Many doctors are not happy with patients who fail to follow their medication recommendations. However, recording is accompanied by great fear regarding medical malpractice and court cases for some healthcare providers.

Talk concerning a blow to physician-patient relation

I understand the fear of seeking permission to record a hospital or office visit from a healthcare professional as I experienced personally. But secret recording amounts to a violation of trust. For instance, in the State of California, the law outlines clearly that both parties should be aware that the recording is taking place.

Recording the information provided by the doctor is crucial because it is quite easy to forget or misunderstand the treatment information provided. It is beneficial if a physician or other healthcare provider possess a patient portal with access to essential medical records and notes, but that should not substitute your personal recording.

Tips to Remember What Your Physician Tells You

  • Prepare some crucial questions before visiting the doctor. This enables you to figure out what you want to achieve from the visit.
  • Document the diagnosis, suggested medical plan, medical alternatives, and recommended subsequent steps.
  • If you wish to record what the physician says, remember that you might compromise the conversation between you and the doctor. Both of you may not be willing to be as honest and candid as necessary. But you can consider asking permission to document critical facts towards the end of the visit and not the whole discussion. Always ask permission from your physician before recording any portion of your conversation.
  • If you opt not to record, take notes on your smartphone or in a notebook.
  • You can also bring a trusted relative or friend to assist you in taking medical notes.
  • Ask your physician whether he is willing to provide a summary of the hospital visit. However, taking your personal notes is quite crucial.

Dr. Sue Reddy specializes in the treatment of infectious disease among many other specialties. She understands what is required to live a healthy, active life. Please feel free to take a look around her website and if you feel she provides services you may be interested in, give Dr. Reddy a call. Her staff would be more than happy to set up an appointment and answer any questions you may have.