Mississippi Patient Safety Coalition - www.mspatientsafety.com
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At Southwest Health Systems patient care is our first concern, and we encourage our patients to be informed, involved health care consumers. That means taking charge of your health care, knowing your rights and responsibilities as a patient, and communicating your questions and concerns to your doctor.
If our care does not meet your standards or expectations, please contact us by calling 601-249-1822. Ask to speak to an administrative representative about your needs or comments.
Here are some tips to help you get the most from your next visit to the doctor:
- Write down your questions. Before you arrive, write down the questions you want to ask the doctor. This gives you time to think clearly and helps you make the most of your time in the exam room.
- Keep a list of your symptoms. If you’re experiencing symptoms of illness, it’s a good idea to keep a journal for a few days. For instance, if you sometimes feel dizzy, write down when and how often. If your stomach is upset, write down what you ate that day and when.
- Bring your medications. Bring all the medicines you are currently taking with you to the doctor’s office. If that’s not practical, make a list of the medications, the dosages, and how often you take each one. Your provider will need to know this information to avoid duplicating your medicine and to be sure new medicines don’t cause a problem.
- Bring a family member or a friend. While it’s not always possible to bring someone with you to the doctor, it can give you an extra set of ears and eyes. Medical information can be confusing and hard to remember, especially when you don’t feel well. You might also consider bringing a notepad and pen to jot down the information you need to remember.
- Inform your doctor about allergies. Note any allergies you have on your medical forms, and also tell your doctor about them. Keep a list in your wallet in case of emergencies.
- Ask questions. If you don’t understand something the doctor tells you, ask, and ask again! Good communication between you and your physician is vital to your good medical care.
- Understand you discharge instructions. Make sure you know what you need to do when you leave the office. If your doctor has prescribed medication, be sure that you know what it is, what it’s for, when you need to take it, and for how long. If your doctor has prescribed additional tests, understand what they are for and where you need to have them performed. If you need to come back for a follow-up visit, make sure you make the appointment before you leave. Likewise, if your doctor has referred you to another specialist, find out if the doctor’s office will make that appointment for you or if you are supposed to handle that.
- Check your prescriptions. If your provider prescribes new medication, check it carefully when you pick it up at the pharmacy. Make sure the medicine is exactly what your doctor prescribed.
- Call when necessary. If you experience new symptoms or have a reaction to the medication your doctor prescribed, call his or her office. A nurse may be able to answer your questions or have the doctor call if necessary.
- Do your part. Follow your doctor’s orders! Take medication as prescribed and do whatever your physician told you to do. Remember, certain medications such as antibiotics must be taken for the full length of time prescribed in order to be effective.