3 ways to get more from your doctor

On-time visits, closer attention and excellent health outcomes – a case study in relationship-based healthcare

Dr. Pavel Glaze, family physician in Vancouver

Does trying to make a timely appointment to see your family doctor cause you endless frustration? Are you tired of covering your health concerns in a five- or 10-minute window? After initial consultations do you feel like there’s a lack of follow-up?

If you feel like you’re missing the care in healthcare, maybe it’s time to make a change. Here are three ways to help you feel better:  

1) Establish a relationship with your physician

Research indicates that the better your relationship with your doctor, the greater the satisfaction with your care. With that in mind, finding the right doctor is important. But it can be hard enough to find a practice accepting new patients, much less a physician who you truly connect with. And, cultivating a relationship with someone you see only sporadically can be difficult.

That was the case with Vancouver resident Louise Zizka. Frustrated with hasty visits and a lack of rapport with her family physician, she finally took her cousin’s advice and contacted Copeman Healthcare.

“I have several health issues and, unfortunately, with my previous physician I felt I just wasn’t getting the attention I needed,” says Zizka. “Visits always seemed rushed and not all my concerns were being addressed. Now I have a physician I see regularly, who takes the time to listen and who is genuinely devoted to ensuring I have the best possible quality of life.”

Dr. Pavel Glaze, Louise’s physician at Copeman Healthcare, agrees wholeheartedly that building trust is the number one priority in establishing exceptional care.

“As a physician, it’s about having meaningful conversations and making real connections, which take time,” he says. “Fortunately, the Copeman model allows for that time and attention.”

2) Demand clear communication (from everyone)

Having strong communication with your doctor and your entire care team not only ensures you are getting appropriate tests and treatments but also helps avoid duplication of effort or contradictory care plans.

Dr. Glaze explains.

“At Copeman Healthcare we work within a team-based methodology; there are at least three or four sets of eyes on every patient, so things don’t get missed and collaboration is easy. From the dietitian to the kinesiologist to the Family Health Nurse, we all work together with each patient to ensure there’s a clear understanding every step of the way.”   

Zizka certainly appreciates the support network she enjoys through the LifePlus Program at Copeman.

“It’s not just the doctors and nurses,” she says, “It’s also the receptionists checking me in and the people on the phone scheduling appointments. Dealing with friendly, efficient, polite people just makes you feel well cared for and that you’re in good hands.”

3) Insist on timely and realistic follow-up

Follow-up is a critically important element in any care plan, so make certain it occurs in a practical and timely manner. Goals must be achievable, so your healthcare team needs a good understanding of your particular situation.

“Physicians always want the best for their patients but circumstances don’t always allow for it,” explains Dr. Glaze. “Ideally, I want to closely monitor my patients’ treatment plan and not wait two or three weeks to see them. In that regard, Copeman sets itself apart from other models, and it shows in our patient satisfaction.”

For Zizka, making changes to her healthcare has greatly increased her satisfaction. It has also meant a better quality of life.

“Since joining the LifePlus program last year, I have a better understanding of my health issues, I feel more in control and I know I have the support I need to make improvements.”

“I want to be able to enjoy spending time with my children and grandchildren, and if I can do something about that, well, I have to do it. After all, life is precious.”

To try a new approach to healthcare, contact Ashley Hamilton at ahamilton@copemanhealthcare.com or visit www.copemanhealthcare.com.