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Why the Patient is the Most Important Part of the Medical Team

February 16, 2017
patient care

There are a number of people that make up a high quality medical team. Doctors, nurses, physicians assistants, x-ray technicians, and even orderlies. But there is often one vital member that is often overlooked, and frankly it is the most important member of the entire team: the patient.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 48% of emergency room patients arrive at the ER simply because their physicians’ offices are closed. They know that they are not sick or injured enough to warrant a hospital admission, but they are so desperate for immediate care that they take on the large copays and wait in long lines, often for a quick visit that leaves larger medical problems unaddressed.

Quality patient care is pledged by all medical professionals, but in an emergency room setting it is far harder to prioritize the high influx of patients who come in with a huge range of symptoms.

In part, that’s why walk in urgent care medical centers exist. First established in the 1970s, these urgent care centers now see millions of patients every week that may not receive the proper care otherwise. Now, many doctors and nurses are leaving the classic hospital setting and pursuing their careers in community health clinics instead.

But what makes the patients themselves such a crucial part of the medical team? Listening to the patient extensively is often necessary for medical professionals to do their job properly. While doctors and nurses are educated to take care of an illness or injury, they can still learn life-saving information simply by asking the right questions and listening carefully to their patients.

To ensure the best possible care, it is the job of the patient to do the following things:

  1. Be confident sharing details about their body. While a doctor or nurse may say that your symptoms are normal, only you are really in-tune with your body and know what is and isn’t right. Everybody is different. If you have a low-grade fever that is higher than normal for you, that is something to address with a doctor, no matter how menial it may seem.
  2. Ask questions if they do not understand a diagnosis. If you don’t understand what the doctor has told you, then what good is a diagnosis? Too many people hear their diagnoses but do not follow up on treatments simply because they do not understand what their doctor is saying. Whether you’re at your primary physician’s office, the hospital, or an urgent care center, do not feel rushed out the door once your diagnosis has been made or your treatment prescribed. It is the job of the doctor to answer your questions to make sure that you understand what your body is saying.
  3. Be aware that illness directly affects them. Many people do not visit the doctor because they do not want to be a nuisance, but patient care is the primary focus of all medical care centers. As the patient, your stakes are the highest, and if something is wrong and you don’t feel well, your team wants to know. Don’t understate or ignore symptoms.
  4. Tell the truth! Doctors are legally required to keep your health information private. Never, ever withhold information or lie to a medical team; you will only hurt yourself. There’s no reason to be embarrassed.

It’s so important for people to come forward when they aren’t feeling well. If this sounds like you, come into our walk in clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona for a thorough examination.