The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the health inequities and barriers to primary care faced by Black Americans. Issues Black men and women face in primary care settings include not having their health concerns taken seriously by health professionals. Although your doctor has extensive medical expertise, it’s important to advocate for your health due to the potential for unconscious biases.
For some, the doctor’s office can be overwhelming and a bit awkward. It can be easy to forget specific concerns and symptoms. Bringing a note that lists your symptoms and questions helps ensure you’re able to discuss all your concerns with your doctor.
It also optimizes your appointment time and takes the pressure off you to remember. You can also take notes on what your doctor says to help you review and discover patterns in care.
Research and ask questions
Take the time to learn what your insurance plan covers and complete research about your symptoms and medications. Your search engine search doesn’t override your doctor’s extensive medical experience and education.
But, completing research arms you with a better understanding. Having more information helps you ask smart questions. It also allows you to better understand your required care and can help you direct treatment plan conversations to the less expensive yet equally effective options.
Sometimes providers use big words and medical jargon. Don’t hesitate to interrupt your provider and ask for an explanation. If you’re unclear about an explanation, ask more questions.
Remember, you are the paying patient. So, don’t be nervous about ensuring you receive the quality care you deserve.
Say no when you’re not comfortable
Listen to your body. If your doctor suggests a treatment that you’re not comfortable with, speak up. Likewise, if you experience side effects to a treatment plan, it’s okay to say no and discontinue. Studies have identified that physicians perceive Black Americans as having