How You Can Be a GREAT HFM Patient

Maximize the advantages of being a Heritage Family Medicine patient; things you can do, that will enable us to deliver the best care possible.

Commit to your own good health.

Your health (or that of your child) is YOUR responsibility. We are here to help. We may remind you to quit smoking, eat better, exercise, relax, etc., but we will not beg you. Only you can choose to comply with our recommendations. We will continue to welcome you, respect you, and do our best for you, even if you don't follow our instructions, but the results will not be optimal.

Understand our limitations.

Just because you "HAVE" to get well by THIS weekend, does not mean we have a method to ensure that result. Some illnesses just take time to resolve with or without treatment. Some, tragically, never will. Sometimes it takes 2 or 3 visits and perhaps some testing to figure out the true source of ill health. The first treatment selected may not always work. Some treatments may have unintended side effects.

We can promise you only that we will always do our best for you; that we will remain up to date in our knowledge and our skills; and that if we believe another practitioner or method may better meet your needs we will make that recommendation.

Organize your thinking.

Doctors arrive at useful conclusions by both "lumping" and "splitting" elements of history, exam and test results in ways that ultimately fit into a known pattern: the more clear the data, the easier the process. We are most interested in location (try when possible to point with ONE finger), intensity (a scale of 1 to 10 helps), duration (in days, weeks, months, years - not "a little while" or a "long time" or "around Thanksgiving," - don't make us count it up) and character (e.g. pain might be "stabbing," "burning" or "pressure;" sleep might be "hard to achieve" or "hard to maintain;" "dizzy" might mean loss of balance or loss of consciousness). Try to think carefully about the nature of your concerns before you see the doctor. Carefully completing the HFM "Pre-Appointment Questionnaire" will help you do this.

Fit into our routine.

Review: Policies and Routines

Ask questions - make suggestions.

If you do not understand - don't fake it. We want you to know how best to address your health care concerns. If we speak too fast or in language too complex - stop us. "Might this make me sleepy?" "Would crutches be a good idea?" "Could ginseng help this?" "I really can't afford an expensive CT scan - how important is it?" -- are all examples of welcome, useful questions.

How to irritate your doctor (and waste time for both of us).

"I have.....(benign positional vertigo, vaginal yeast, a urine infection)..." -- You are most likely correct, but it is the doctor's responsibility to be sure of the diagnosis and treat appropriately. The opposite is just as bad: "I am sick" just doesn't help much. Tell us your symptoms.

"I need... (antibiotics, a note for work LAST week, to see a nephrologist)..." Again, you may be correct, but many infections do NOT require antibiotics, we can not verify that which we did not encounter, and every back pain is not kidney disease. Tell us the problem; we will work out a solution, together.

"Any side effects? I won't take anything with side effects..." Of course, there are potential side effects to every medication or procedure. In the rarest of circumstances you could die from most any of them. Most drugs have a list of about 30 things that it might have caused to usually less than 5% of people. Whoever dispenses your medication will give you a list of the more common potential side effects and precautions. All of our office surgical procedures have the same risks: bleeding, infection, unintended injury, or a poor cosmetic result - all of which we will do our utmost best to avoid. Trust us to balance risks versus benefits and to inform you of that process.

"Child, if you don't ...... the doctor will...(give you a shot, spank you, not make you well, etc.)." Your child has enough fear. Do not make it worse.

Touch any computer. They are all demon possessed and can easily be provoked into behaving in bizarre ways. They also contain the private information of other patients. Trust us, finding your child at one of our computers is not "cute." Please, do not provoke the computers.

Praise our staff.

If you have been especially well served by an individual at Heritage Family Medicine - please tell them and tell the doctor. Better yet, submit your comment. Nothing gives us more pleasure than knowing that our employees have helped you in an exceptional way! Our goal is to always exceed your expectations.