Heart Disease: Communicating with Several Providers
If you are like most people with heart disease, you have several healthcare providers
who each treat you for a different health issue.
When a team of healthcare 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. This helps to prevent medicine interactions.
Keep the following tips in mind.
Share the names
Tell your healthcare providers the names and specialties of all your other healthcare
providers. Your health problems may not seem related, but health conditions can affect
each other. Tell your providers about other medical appointments and what your treatment
plans involve. Include any changes in medicines or doses prescribed. Or if you have
side effects. Ask each provider to send a copy of each visit note to your other providers.
Most provider offices can easily do this on the same day. Many providers use electronic
medical records. These can be looked at by other providers using the same program.
Share your list of medicines
A wallet card is handy for listing all of your medicines. The card includes how much
you take of each and other instructions. Some pharmacies and healthcare systems have
electronic medicine tracking that you can do from a tablet or smart phone. Ask your
healthcare providers to review your list at each visit. Whenever you start taking
a new medicine, tell the provider the names of all other medicines you take. Include
over-the-counter products and herbal supplements. Your pharmacist is also an important
resource. It's best to use one pharmacy so that the pharmacist can alert you to possible
medicine interactions. It's important to keep track of your most current list of medicines.
Keep yourself informed
Learn about your health issues and the medicines you take. Ask your healthcare providers
where you can find reliable information about your condition. Ask your healthcare
providers for copies of letters they write to other providers about your care. You
may have access to your own records through a secured internet connection (generally
called a patient portal). It will be protected with a login and password given to
you by your provider or insurance company. Ask if this is available to you.