As a primary care physician for the past 20 years, my goal has always been to be the very best advocate possible for the health of my patients. That being said, I also know that there is no greater advocate for your own health than yourself, especially when choosing a doctor or healthcare provider. While we often wish that our health care providers were infallible, the uncomfortable but realistic fact is that they are humans who may make mistakes and certainly can’t know everything. Choosing the right provider can make a big difference in the quality of care you receive, and that choice is yours alone.
I believe all health care providers go into this line of work because we sincerely want to help people, but I know in my heart that we just can’t know it all. The most important thing is to make sure you’re working with a healthcare provider who takes the time to really get to know you and your medical history and pays attention to the details of your lifestyle. If you don’t feel heard, move on. If your gut tells you a treatment plan just isn’t right for you, get another opinion (and bonus points if you do your own research!). If you have symptoms that aren’t being addressed, find someone who will listen. This doesn’t make you pushy, a know-it-all, or a troublesome patient -- it means you’re being a true advocate for your body and your health.
Your responsibility to continue to advocate for yourself continues once you leave the health care provider’s office, of course! Your physician can’t be in your body and feel what you feel, so keep a journal of notes you can bring to your next appointment. She can’t make sure you eat a well-balanced diet, exercise a minimum of 30 minutes daily and take your medications as directed. These actions are up to you and your ability to put your health first. It’s our mission at Framework Health to arm you with the knowledge to be your best advocate, and our hope is that you use us as a resource in your healthcare journey.
Dr. Leslie Meserve