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My name is Azra, I am a Leo and a proud Malaysian. Yay! I am quite opinionated, but I don't usually say it out loud, hence the blog! And I also like to review movies and TV shows. Besides that, I am a daughter, a girlfriend to that special someone, a sister, an aunt and your pharmacist... If you are interested in any of the products in my blog or would like to be my business partner, please contact me: AZRA - nur_azra@yahoo.com. (YM or Facebook me!) Happy reading, cheers!
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Choosing YOUR treatment: How to Work with Your Doctor

2/18/2009 03:33:00 PM Posted In Edit This
Just like every other Malaysian, I visit the private clinic more often than the government-provided Klinik Kesihatan for minor ailments. The service is faster (although not always) and the whole set-up of a private clinic is more welcoming. Of course, all these come with a price. A 5 minute consultation + take-home paracetamol, cough syrup, anti-congestion and antibiotic for minor fever usually cost around RM 40 in Shah Alam.

However, do private practices always provide the best treatment option or services for their customers?
The aspect that I would like to comment on is the lacking of patient’s involvement in making treatment decisions in private clinics (despite the money I have paid for consultation fees). Have you had your say in choosing what treatment you want for your own illness?

Ok, so what is an informed shared decision?

Informed shared decision is the decision made by the patient with the doctor after the patient has considered all the treatment options available based on the information given by the doctor.

To make an informed decision, the doctor should guide the patient and discuss the options available. During the discussion, the patient should really be briefed on the options pros and cons (e.g. if it’s a medicine – the benefits and side effects), how long the treatment regime should last for, the cost of the treatment and finally, doctors should answer all the questions addressed by the patient.
It is not easy to make such discussion without the doctor’s initiative. Although I am a pharmacist and I have some knowledge about diseases and treatments (of course, not as great as doctors), nonetheless I used to feel ‘overpowered’ by the doctor when I face them. So, here are some tips on how you can work out making an informed decision with your doctor:-

1. Be well-equipped with knowledge about your condition and the current treatment practices.
A website that uses terms that can be understood by most people is http://www.medicinenet.com/. You can also find out the established treatment options from the website.

2. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
If you are worried that you might get disheartened by their negative attitude, take a family member or friend along because doctor will seem less intimidating with the support of family/friend.

3. Remember what you and doctor have discussed about.
You can do this by writing down the key points your doctor mentioned. And it is not wrong to say something like “Could you please run through what you said to me again so I can be sure I understand it?"

Now, you don't want this to happen to you right?