In one of my earliest posts about how to talk to your doctor and be your own advocate, I go over how to use technology to communicate with your medical team to get the results you need. There I strongly suggest making a medical powerpoint. This post outlines what a medical powerpoint looks like and how you should structure yours.
Why is this useful?
A medical powerpoint keeps you organized – and looking on-point to your doctors. Doctors are people, and people generally have to be won over to gain their respect. It’s easier to negotiate your health, or work with, a doctor who respects you. Communication is smoother.
Not to mention, if you’re feeling really sick, it can be hard to remember what to talk about, or even speak. Having a powerpoint on your smartphone or tablet doing the talking for you can remove large obstacles in communicating with your doctor.
Note: If the doctor refuses to see the powerpoint, read from the powerpoint and go into a monologue.
How to Make a Mobile Powerpoint
- You can make a powerpoint on your computer and email yourself, therefore accessing it on your smartphone.
- You can create a Keynote powerpoint on your iPhone and access the powerpoint on your smartphone.
- You can create a powerpoint on your tablet using Keynote, Powerpoint, Amazon Docs, or another app.
- You can email your powerpoint to your tablet from your computer.
Have the doctor’s specialty, date of the appointment, doctor’s name, and your name. This is to improve organization. Save the powerpoint as the doctor’s specialty and the date of the appointment.
Updates from your medical team
If you’ve been to any other appointments, had labs done, tests run (such as MRIs and CAT scans) even if they were duds, put them here. This will be an ongoing, ever-growing list of slides.
These are symptoms you’ve experienced in the past 2 weeks. Bold new symptoms you haven’t seen before.
This is your most important slide. Timing is crucial to a diagnosis as it reveals whether a pattern of events caused the illness and what, as well as duration of time. Try to keep this to 1-2 slides.
These are the overarching symptoms you have been experiencing chronically over time. If a symptom has lasted more than 3 months, put it here.
If you are experiencing pain, try to figure out where it is with deep breathing (if you don’t already know) and google a pain scale to gauge it.
Unfortunately, you do have to put down any illnesses you already have, because they may be causing your problem.
Helping Yourself – Demonstrating Strength
Doctors don’t like whiners, like anyone else, and it’s their job to be complained at. Even if you have a legitimate illness, it’s important to negotiate with the doctor that you’re not just sitting on the couch eating potato chips. You must show the doctor you are strong and worthy of respect. List things you do to take care of yourself, whether it’s a regular nail appointment or a walk in the park.
I know what I’m talking about
Basically copy and paste this. It shows the doctor you know what you want from them and therefore know what you’re talking about. This is more than what most patients can say, “I can articulate how I want to be treated.” You will earn respect points.
Have a list of your prescription and OTC medications, such as Tylenol, their dosage, and frequency.
Supplements do not fall under the same category as medications. These include vitamins and natural herbal supplements.
Questions for the doctor
Before you go to the doctor, brainstorm a list of questions to ask them.
Find some medical-related humor to put at the end of the slide. See if your doctor comments on it. Don’t ask.
You can win your doctor over and communicate effectively with just a little extra leg work. Don’t worry, you can do this!