How to Get the Best Out of Your Healthcare Provider

Kenyatta National Hospital, from Ngong Road

Going to see a healthcare provider could be hectic especially when it is your first time. This could be your doctor, dentist, physician, pharmaceutical practitioner or let’s just say wherever you can go when you feeling unwell.

Predicting when you’ll become sick is not easy, this happens abruptly and before you think of anything you are at a health facility seeking treatment. They start asking you how you feel and several other questions.

Since we don’t usually see healthcare providers frequently, you may feel nervous or be unable to articulate yourself better to be understood. It is also difficult to compose yourself before a total stranger asking for help. How are you going to trust them with your personal information?

A healthcare provider will rely on your signs and symptoms with which he/she can prescribe medication or recommend further tests. Your signs and symptoms are basically how you feel e.g headache, fever, coughing e.t.c.

Signs and symptoms are not just enough, your healthcare provider will ask personal questions such as your age, contact information and whether you have a partner. Don’t panic for this is just routine. Expect also questions about:

• allergies (food or medicines)

• medications that you are using- either short-term or long-term.

• Your past and present medical history, whether you’ve had the same condition before.

• What you ate last

• What you were doing before you got sick – traveling, attending an event, working, at home e.t.c

You don’t need to explain everything to the tiny details. Try to be precise and don’t give a lot of irrelevant information.

If you don’t give the right information or leave out some vital specifics you might end up not getting the best treatment. Your healthcare provider might not be able to make a proper judgment. When the diagnosis is not right you might end up even spending more money than you should.

Even when you are sure that what you are suffering from is typhoid, don’t begin by saying “I have typhoid” or any other disease you could think of. All you need to do is just explain your symptoms and answer the questions that they ask you.

They are going to listen to you and run some needed tests and tell you what you could be suffering from. Give your healthcare provider a chance to determine and prescribe what’s best for you. If you think of feel your healthcare provider is not reading the same page as you, ask questions.

The following questions will help you feel comfortable with your healthcare provider and understand what’s happening to you. You don’t have to ask all of them;

1. What am I suffering from?

2. How are the medicines you’ve prescribed going to help me?

3. How do they work?

4. Why am I taking more than one drug? (When more than 1 drug has been prescribed)

5. How long am I going to take these medications?

6. What foods should I avoid?

7. Is there any interaction between the drugs?

8. Will I feel better?

Again, be curious always to know what disease you are suffering from, don’t just take medication because the doctor has prescribed. Seek a second or third opinion from another healthcare provider when in doubt, uncertain or confused.

As you continue to seek the best healthcare experience, remember to be objective, be brief and ask relevant questions and above all don’t be rude.

I’d like to wish y’all good health and happiness during this trying time as we battle the pandemic.