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Medicalese or What Did My Doctor Say?

Ever leave the doctor's office not understanding what your physician was talking about during the appointment? You are not alone. As I am sure you are aware, physicians and medical personnel have their very own language. Let's call it medicalese. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) "nearly 9 out of 10 adults may lack many of the skills necessary to sufficiently manage their health." A patient can be highly educated and still not understand the language their doctor is using. How can a patient be expected to follow their doctor's orders if they don't understand what is being said?

As I started attending medical appointments as a healthcare advocate with my clients, I quickly realized how much of the conversation between doctors and patients involved terminology that the patients may not necessarily understand. It might not even be the words, it might be abbreviations that the physician just assumes the patient knows. It was surprising to find that many patients would rather say yes to their doctors rather than ask them to reexplain something in terms that they can understand. Sometimes, it just might be pride on the patient's part. A highly educated person may be embarrassed to ask the doctor to clarify. Or it may be that the patient thought they understood what the doctor was saying, but in reality they had no idea. My role as a healthcare advocate is to make sure my clients understand the language so they can follow their doctor's treatment plan.

One of the biggest benefits as a healthcare advocate I give to my clients is the confidence that they will leave their physician's office understanding their diagnosis, treatment plans, and treatment options. Both doctor and patient are in agreement. The treating physician is happy because they know that their patients understand their advice and in reality, patients will only follow their healthcare plan if they truly comprehend what they are suppose to do.

As always, if things are not going as you plan with your healthcare and you need some guidance, don't forget to reach out to me... your healthcare advocate. A partner in your health.


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