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The inside scoop

Be honest. If your favorite sister or best friend was a physician, would you call them for advice before heading into an appointment? We’re saving you time by asking a handful of University Health physicians about the recommendations they give to the people they love.

Trust and communication. They might sound more like the ingredients for a marriage than a doctor/patient relationship, but the University Health physicians we talked to say when you boil it down, trust and communication are key.

Emergency Medicine Specialists, Stefanie Ellison, MD and Erica Carney, MD tell friends to write it down. Yes, before your appointment write down your top two concerns. “I tell them to prioritize two things, and the physician may only be able to manage one thing today, but they’ll give the patients tools on how to manage that other thing,” said Dr. Ellison. “If you leave it to two things that’s something you can accomplish in a visit.”

As a Family Medicine Specialist, Todd Shaffer, MD cares for patients from birth to death, so he has years to develop a relationship with his patients. He tells friends and family that once they find a physician they like, stick with him or her. “You can’t solve everything in one visit,” said Dr. Shaffer. “It’s an ongoing relationship and that’s the part of primary care that allows us to start working on things and move forward.”

Trauma Surgeon Michael Moncure, MD takes time to meet with his patients days before their scheduled surgeries. While his goal is for the patient to leave informed about the prep, procedure, and recovery, he knows it’s a lot for one (often nervous) patient to absorb. “Keeping your surgery secret is the worst thing you can do,” said Dr. Moncure. “I’m still amazed with patients who don’t have anyone with them. It is extremely important.”

And Internal Medicine Specialist/Pediatrician Jonathan Kendall, MD tells his friends and family to take a deep calming breath before the appointment. “A lot of people think that their doctor is going to find something wrong on lab work, the physical exam, or questioning,” explained Dr. Kendall. “They feel like it’s an interrogation and the doctor is trying to find something wrong. But really doctors are trying to build a relationship of trust to help you get to your own health goals.”