I just spoke to a friend who is waiting on test results for a very serious condition. She was supposed to know the results a week ago. She is not one to call the doctor; not one to make waves; not one to assert herself or ask for help. Although these are lovely attributes in a friend, they are not good ones for consumers. And in this case, she is a health care consumer.
Here are some tips for people who may find it hard to ask for medical information.
- Be a NICE squeaky wheel. You will more likely get help and sympathy if you aren’t demanding. You will catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.
- Remember that you are asking for something you paid for, that is about you, and that you have a right to. You aren’t asking for favors; you are asking for necessary information.
- If the information isn’t available, ask when it is expected. If you are told that you will be called, ask when you can expect a call back. You can say something like, “As you can imagine, I am anxious to hear the results. If you were me, when would you call back?’
- Be a patient patient. When waiting, try to focus on maintaining inner peace and outer health. However, don’t be so patient that you ignore the fact that you haven’t heard back from the doctor.
- Enlist help. If you don’t hear back from a specialist, ask your primary care provider to call the specialist.
Above all, keep in mind that you are dealing with your health. This isn’t a luxury problem – it is about the fundamental need to be well and to expect your health care team to help you.