Don't Wait Until You're in a Paper Gown to Think About Why You're There
Most residents are taught to let the patient set the agenda, says Charles Brackett, MD, a general internist at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center and a clinical liaison with the university's Center for Shared Decision Making. That's why doctors often start with an open-ended statement like, "Let's talk about why you're here today." But many patients haven't thought through what they want to say ("I started feeling it last Tuesday...or was it the week before?"). Even specific follow-up questions, like "where exactly does it hurt?" can stump unprepared patients.