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How building a relationship with your doctor can keep you safe

Think about the last time you went to see your doctor. How did you interact? Did you have an open conversation, or were you nervous to talk about some health issues? Was your doctor receptive to your concerns, or did he or she try to convince you that nothing was wrong? The relationship you have with your doctor is extremely important. Simply knowing each other and building a bond can help prevent a medical error.

Today, an article written by a general internist was published on Fox News' website. She explained how establishing a good relationship with your doctor and knowing how to approach your visits can help keep you healthy and happy.

First, many Connecticut residents know that in order to build a relationship with your doctor, you have to see your doctor. Even if you're feeling healthy, make sure to at least visit your doctor once a year for a checkup. Even if your instinct about being healthy is correct, simply meeting with your doctor in person can help establish a rapport between the two of you. Additionally, your doctor will be able to maintain an up-to-date record of your health, making it easier for him or her to notice when something might be off.

Next, make a plan for your visits, and speak up when you're concerned or have questions. Most office visits only last half an hour, so if you have an agenda you'd like to cover, make sure you limit it to the most important items. As you're discussing your health concerns, however, don't be afraid to ask questions about anything that you feel uneasy about or don't understand. In case you think of something later on, ask your doctor for the best way to get in touch.

Finally, make sure that you and your doctor are a good fit. You should feel comfortable discussing your health concerns with your doctor. If you are uneasy about how your doctor interacts with you or just aren't feeling any chemistry, find a new doctor.

Ultimately, your relationship with your doctor should be one of trust and understanding. As you get to know each other better, your doctor should be able to pick up on subtle signs that something may be wrong -- as long as you keep speaking up. You may find one day that your good relationship keeps you healthy in the long-run.

Source: Fox News, "What doctors don't tell you -- but should," Dr. Danielle Ofri, April 16, 2013

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