Your Tips on How to Get Off to the Best Start with a New Specialist

I'm looking for your best tips.
Starting a relationship with a new specialist can be daunting. You want to get off to a good start and ensure that you establish mutual respect and are able to develop trust. You want to know you're in good hands. What is their expertise and experience? What research are they doing? Will they listen and consider your input?

How do you get off to the best start with a new provider? What suggestions would you tell a friend who is going to see a new doctor?

+++UPDATE+++
Your tips in action: Tips shared in the discussion below made this video. It's great advice: For patients by patients.

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Visiting Mayo Clinic group.

@colleenyoung

These are all great tips in how to prepare for a visit. I'd like to dig a bit deeper. How do you develop rapport with a new doctor?

Coincidentally, I came across this article today.
Getting Your Doctor to Really See You https://thedoctorweighsin.com/getting-your-doctor-to-really-see-you/

It provides strategies about how you can, as a patient, get your doctor to engage with you as a person. It is divided into 3 parts:
– Individual flair can ignite conversation
– Appeal to the physician as both scientist and healer
– Let technology pave the path

How do you present yourself to your doctor to establish the kind of relationship you want?

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I just read the article you posted, @colleenyoung, and it made some great points. I have heard it said that doctors want to know not only what your problems/symptoms are, but how they are impacting your life.

For example, if you have always played tennis and are quite proficient at it, let your doctor know about your skill at tennis and that your shortness of breath (or pain in your shoulder, knee, etc.) is now keeping you from something that you really love and enjoy. This will give the doctor some context in which to see you as a person who wants to be active and alive and not just someone in pain.

Doctors appreciate seeing who you are in relationship to your physical symptoms.

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Okay: I appreciate that the specialist's time is valuable, so I bring a typed succinct history of the injury, symptoms, treatments. I leave it with the Doctor and make sure I do not expect them to use it unless it will help them. I also leave a copy for the staff. I have learned to direct questions to the staff first and not the doctor.

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@hedjhog

Okay: I appreciate that the specialist's time is valuable, so I bring a typed succinct history of the injury, symptoms, treatments. I leave it with the Doctor and make sure I do not expect them to use it unless it will help them. I also leave a copy for the staff. I have learned to direct questions to the staff first and not the doctor.

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@hedjhog Would you amplify on your reasons for directing questions to the staff rather than the doctor?

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I am a patient at a group practice for an eye condition. So, I don't always see the same specialist. At my appointment last month, I was treated by one of the doctors that I don't usually see. Right away, I observed how he interacted with his staff in the hallway, and the tone of his conversations and bounce in his step. His time with me was efficient and professional. He clearly explained my treatment, even though my charts showed that I have been receiving these treatments for quite a few years.
At the end of my appointment, I told him that I could see how much he enjoyed what he was doing. He paused for a moment. I think I took him by surprise. He said, "I do love what I do" And he told me about some memorable experiences. Before he left, he smiled and thanked me for asking.
I have a follow-up in a couple months, but don't know which doctor I am going to see.

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@rosemarya

I am a patient at a group practice for an eye condition. So, I don't always see the same specialist. At my appointment last month, I was treated by one of the doctors that I don't usually see. Right away, I observed how he interacted with his staff in the hallway, and the tone of his conversations and bounce in his step. His time with me was efficient and professional. He clearly explained my treatment, even though my charts showed that I have been receiving these treatments for quite a few years.
At the end of my appointment, I told him that I could see how much he enjoyed what he was doing. He paused for a moment. I think I took him by surprise. He said, "I do love what I do" And he told me about some memorable experiences. Before he left, he smiled and thanked me for asking.
I have a follow-up in a couple months, but don't know which doctor I am going to see.

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What a great experience, Rosemary! Doctors are people too and enjoy being able to share about themselves.

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@rosemarya

I am a patient at a group practice for an eye condition. So, I don't always see the same specialist. At my appointment last month, I was treated by one of the doctors that I don't usually see. Right away, I observed how he interacted with his staff in the hallway, and the tone of his conversations and bounce in his step. His time with me was efficient and professional. He clearly explained my treatment, even though my charts showed that I have been receiving these treatments for quite a few years.
At the end of my appointment, I told him that I could see how much he enjoyed what he was doing. He paused for a moment. I think I took him by surprise. He said, "I do love what I do" And he told me about some memorable experiences. Before he left, he smiled and thanked me for asking.
I have a follow-up in a couple months, but don't know which doctor I am going to see.

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I had a similar experience with my oncologists. There were 3 oncologists that came to our local hospital. I really preferred to meet with one of the doctors. If i was sceduled on a day when one of the other doctors was at the clinic, i would call and ask them to reschedule me for a day when my preferred doctor was at the clinic. If you really like a specific doctor, ask to be scheduled with that doctor. It may not work out, but it doesn't hurt to ask.

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@rosemarya

I am a patient at a group practice for an eye condition. So, I don't always see the same specialist. At my appointment last month, I was treated by one of the doctors that I don't usually see. Right away, I observed how he interacted with his staff in the hallway, and the tone of his conversations and bounce in his step. His time with me was efficient and professional. He clearly explained my treatment, even though my charts showed that I have been receiving these treatments for quite a few years.
At the end of my appointment, I told him that I could see how much he enjoyed what he was doing. He paused for a moment. I think I took him by surprise. He said, "I do love what I do" And he told me about some memorable experiences. Before he left, he smiled and thanked me for asking.
I have a follow-up in a couple months, but don't know which doctor I am going to see.

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@rosemarya @hopeful33250 As Teresa said, doctors are people too, and I think they appreciate hearing we recognize that. My gynecologist is great, we always share a bit of personal info and one time I told him how fortunate I felt to have a number of very caring doctors. He stopped what he was doing and immediately responded that I was an easy person to care about, which made my day too!
Once on my way to my appointment with my surgeon, not too long after my transplant, I was thinking about the difference in me from the first time we met, prior to transplant, to now. I commented to him that it must be very gratifying for him when he sees patients so healthy after transplant, and he sort of beamed and said it really is.
I think many people do not see the human side of doctors so when a patient makes a positive comment like that they enjoy it.
JK

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@marvinjsturing

I had a similar experience with my oncologists. There were 3 oncologists that came to our local hospital. I really preferred to meet with one of the doctors. If i was sceduled on a day when one of the other doctors was at the clinic, i would call and ask them to reschedule me for a day when my preferred doctor was at the clinic. If you really like a specific doctor, ask to be scheduled with that doctor. It may not work out, but it doesn't hurt to ask.

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@marvinjsturing I was in that position when I was pregnant with my daughter. One doctor in the practice seemed sort of cold but I had to see him. When I expressed a concern he stopped everything and listened and reassured me. My opinion of him changed after that.
JK

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My hip surgeon was the son of my old pediatrician that I saw as a baby. Having that kind of connection made me feel at ease. From the first face-to-face meeting I had with him. I felt confident that he could help me in my agony of constant hip pain. He did.

Ift’s best to write down a list of questions you may want to ask. Mayo doctors will take the time to answer them without making you feel rushed.

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@50surgeries

My hip surgeon was the son of my old pediatrician that I saw as a baby. Having that kind of connection made me feel at ease. From the first face-to-face meeting I had with him. I felt confident that he could help me in my agony of constant hip pain. He did.

Ift’s best to write down a list of questions you may want to ask. Mayo doctors will take the time to answer them without making you feel rushed.

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My husband's primary doctor was his father's doctor till his death due to cancer. The whole family loved him. When we needed to consolidate our medical insurance, I knew I had to switch mine because there was no way he would want to leave his doctor. He would go to him first for any medical concerns (the doc then writes referral for specialists if that is what is needed). That is the kind of trust between a doctor and a patient that we all want to have.

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@ling123

My husband's primary doctor was his father's doctor till his death due to cancer. The whole family loved him. When we needed to consolidate our medical insurance, I knew I had to switch mine because there was no way he would want to leave his doctor. He would go to him first for any medical concerns (the doc then writes referral for specialists if that is what is needed). That is the kind of trust between a doctor and a patient that we all want to have.

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To follow up on my earlier post about writing down questions for the specialist. I had a consultation with a cardiologist this week. I had written down questions as I thought of them during the weeks prior to the appointment, then consolidated them and prioritized their importance. I also had copies of cardiac-related results he might want to refer to. The visit went very well and he and I were able to focus on my questions and their answers. One useful question that I included at the end of my list was: "Is there anything that I haven't asked that you think is important for me to know about my cardiac condition?"

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@tim1028

To follow up on my earlier post about writing down questions for the specialist. I had a consultation with a cardiologist this week. I had written down questions as I thought of them during the weeks prior to the appointment, then consolidated them and prioritized their importance. I also had copies of cardiac-related results he might want to refer to. The visit went very well and he and I were able to focus on my questions and their answers. One useful question that I included at the end of my list was: "Is there anything that I haven't asked that you think is important for me to know about my cardiac condition?"

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tim128. Good final question. I will remember it. Thanks!

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