Receiving a new diagnosis of a heart condition can be frightening, worrisome, and overwhelming. If your diagnosis requires ongoing care with an interventional cardiologist, developing a positive patient-doctor relationship — one with mutual participation and trust — is a crucial step to receiving the best care possible and can make your diagnosis a bit easier to handle. Studies have shown that individuals who have trusting relationships with their doctors have better health outcomes.1 That’s why it’s important to take your time to find the right interventional cardiologist who fits well with you and your health needs.
Listen to your instincts
While you may have received a referral for an interventional cardiologist from your primary care physician, insurance company, or even a friend, it’s important that you like and feel comfortable with your doctor. Just because a doctor comes highly recommended with lots of training and experience doesn’t necessarily mean that your personalities will mesh and the patient-doctor relationship will be a good fit. Be sure to listen to your instincts:
- Does the doctor’s bedside manner put you off, make you feel uncomfortable, or cause you to hold back information?
- Do you feel misunderstood or misheard during your doctor appointments?
- Does the doctor rush through your appointments without providing sufficient information and answers to all your questions?
These are some red flags to look for, so if you answer “yes” to any of these questions, it’s a good idea to move on and continue your search for another doctor.
Visiting a cardiologist can be stressful, especially if you’re concerned about your health and unsure about what the future holds. You may feel intimidated or even a bit embarrassed to be upfront with information needed to care for your heart appropriately. Still, it’s important not to leave out any details. Honesty is the key to a positive, trusting patient-doctor relationship, so the more information you provide on your condition, your preferences, and your lifestyle, the better your doctor will be able to treat you.
An interventional cardiologist with whom you can confide and build trust isn’t there to judge you and your lifestyle choices but to listen to your concerns, assess your condition, and create the best possible ongoing care plan for your condition. Leaving out key information will diminish the quality of care you obtain – and neither you nor your doctor benefits from that.
Coming prepared to an appointment with your interventional cardiologist will ensure you get the most out of your appointment and strengthen the patient-doctor relationship right from the start. When preparing for an appointment, consider the following:
- Write down all the questions you have regarding your health condition.
- Get copies of recent medical records and test results.
- List out all the medications you’re currently taking, including dosages, frequency, etc.
- Be prepared to discuss your personal and family medical history and your lifestyle habits such as your diet, physical activity level, and whether you smoke.
Ensure the trust is mutual
Like any relationship, trust goes both ways. You can’t expect your interventional cardiologist to try to gain and keep your trust if you’re unwilling to do the same. You owe it to yourself to have a good relationship with your doctor so that you receive optimal medical care best suited to treat your condition — and that will be based on a patient-doctor relationship built on mutual trust.