Heart Disease: Communicating with Several Providers
If you are like most people with heart disease, you have several health care providers who each treat you for a different health issue.
When a team of health care providers cares for you, it's important to keep each one up-to-date on your overall health. Doing so helps them understand the "big picture" of your treatment, while preventing drug interactions.
Keep these tips in mind:
Tell your health care providers the names and specialties of all your other health care providers. Although your health problems may not seem related, medical conditions can affect each other. Tell your providers about other medical appointments and what your treatment plans involve. Include any changes in medicines or dosage prescribed or if you have side effects. Ask each health care provider to send a copy of each visit note to your other providers. Most doctor's offices can easily accomplish this on the same day.
Share your list of medicines. A medication wallet card is handy for listing all your medicines, including dosage and other instructions. Ask your health care providers to review your list at each visit. Whenever you start taking a new drug, tell the provider the names of all other medicines you take. Include over-the-counter products and herbal supplements. Your pharmacist is an important resource, too. It's best to use one pharmacy so that the pharmacist can alert you to possible medication interactions.
Keep yourself informed. Learn about your health issues and the medicines you take. Ask your local librarian for help or use the Internet to do research. Ask your health care providers for copies of letters they write to other providers about your care.
- Foster, Sarah, RN, MPH
- MMI board-certified, academically affiliated clinician