84% of Australians see a GP every year, so it’s important that this part of your healthcare works for you. We’ve all probably had good and bad GP experiences, so here are some tips to get the best out of your GP!

  1. Ongoing, virtual support – make sure they help you out when you’re not at the clinic. Your health and well-being is not one transaction, so why should medical care only occur during the 10-15 minutes you’re with a GP? Often it can be a case of out-of-sight equals out-of-mind for most GPs, but with more of our ageing population now experiencing chronic health conditions (1 in 2 in fact), it’s important there is ongoing follow-up and support by phone, email or video even when you don’t have an appointment. Healthcare is virtual in many countries overseas – does your GP provide prescriptions over the phone, conduct consultations by video, answer your questions by email, send you reminders by SMS and generally help you out when you’re not at the clinic?
  2. Outside help – sometimes it’s not easy to go to the medical centre to see your GP. You may be stuck at work, caring for kids, on vacation, or don’t have transport. These days, you are in the driver’s seat to determine your healthcare needs – make sure your GP provides home visits, car transport and even attends important meetings to help coordinate your healthcare, such as discharge meetings with hospital specialists, family conferences to plan aged care or difficult life transitions, or working together with other clinicians in case reviews. These are all critical components to ensure you get the best possible healthcare.
  3. Proactive approach – medical conditions, our healthcare system and working out undiagnosed symptoms and issues can be confusing and a difficult process that can lead to stress and worry. Make sure your GP stays a step ahead by planning your health care needs proactively, keeping track of important tests and interventions that you may need (for example all your kid’s vaccinations, your screening tests each year, your scripts and referrals so you don’t run out), and bringing in help from other clinicians to get the best answer for you. You shouldn’t need to initiate health care services yourself – your GP should be organising things for you preemptively and do the worrying for you.

When GP visits become reactive, transactional 10 minute events, with little support afterwards or outside the 4 walls of the medical centre, then poor health outcomes result. In Australia, only 50% of chronic health conditions are managed appropriately by GPs and up to a third of hospital admissions are preventable – can you afford not to get the best out of your GP?

References:

  • https://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/4839.0
  • CareTrack study, Medical Journal of Australia

 

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