Hope and Possibility

Relationship Building Essentials for Patients and Doctors

Talks about who is involved in Effective Health Care

Creating an open space for both patients and doctors




  • Explain the criteria used in the diagnosis and the level of experience you have in treating the illness.
  • Answer the patient’s questions to the best of your ability. If it is out of your range of expertise, it is helpful to point the patient toward a trustworthy source of information to learn more.

Treatment Plan

  • Be clear about what the treatment options are and what choices the patient has.
  • Explain your recommendations.
  • Explain what other options are available if the current plan does not work.
  • Be honest with the patient regarding the prognosis.
  • If the patient has serious concerns about being able to follow the treatment plan, provide contact information of additional support staff to help answer questions. This will help the patient follow through.

Follow Up

  • Provide a time line for subsequent visits.
  • Provide a way to contact you if serious complications occur. 

Before a doctor appointment

  • Starting with the onset of your illness, keep a detailed daily log listing symptoms, changes in your routine, and questions.
  • Seek diagnosis and treatment ASAP as time is of the essence to eliminate, reduce, or better manage your symptoms.
  • If possible, locate a lawyer who deals with rare diseases, workman’s compensation, and insurance navigation. (http://www.thejenniferjaffcenter.org/)
  • Regardless of age, if you have an illness, compile a list of all pertinent medical information and carry it with you.  Give copies to loved ones.
  • Refer to this link for what to include: http://organizemeny.com/organized-medical-information-can-lifesaver-literally/

During an appointment

  • Bring an advocate if possible to take notes during the appointment. Keep track of your questions and the answers provided.
  • Focus on 3 Questions: What are my options? What are the possible benefits and risks of each option? How likely are the benefits and risks of each option to occur? (Research for Improving Communication with your Doctor )
  • If there are issues with the treatment plan that you don’t understand, don’t feel comfortable with or are worried about, voice these concerns before leaving the office.
  • If you are diagnosed with CRPS, you may wish to ask your doctor if she has treated others with CRPS. What does she know about pain management and alternative therapies? Does she know of other health professionals with experience in treating CRPS?

After an appointment

  • If you choose to continue to work with the doctor, follow the doctor’s treatment plan to the best of your ability.
  • Continue keeping your daily log and include notes from your appointment.
  • Side effects and adverse reactions to medications are possible. Keep track of when you start a medication, change in dose or go off of a medication.
  • Be respectful of your doctor as a human being.  Doctors have lives outside of being your doctor. Do not call 24/7.