Communication is the Best Medicine

Patient-centered care is the provision of safe, effective and timely medical care achieved through cooperation among the physician, an informed patient (and family) and a coordinated healthcare team.

What can you do?

  • When appropriate, discuss the following with your orthopaedic surgeon:
    • Diagnosis
    • Treatment alternatives
    • Course of care
    • Expectations for treatment outcomes and recovery time
    • Benefits and risks of surgery or possible complications
    • Pre-surgical tests or evaluations needed
    • Type of implant or prosthesis, its outcome and lifespan
  •  Ask about your orthopaedic surgeon’s experience in diagnosing and treating your type of condition (e.g., board certified, how many procedures does he/she perform each year, whether or not he/she will perform the operation).
  • Come prepared with lists that include:
    • All the medications you take including prescription, over-the-counter, herbal and vitamins
    • Your surgical history with dates
    • Your complete family medical history
    • Questions you want answered
  • Bring a family member or friend with you.
  • Ask questions, voice concerns and speak up when you do not understand. Ask your orthopaedic surgeon how he/she likes to communicate after the visit: calls, emails, times available, etc.
  • Always be honest and complete when talking with your orthopaedic surgeon. Share your view and don’t hold back information.
  • Ask your orthopaedic surgeon for easy-to-read brochures or other patient-friendly literature so you can learn about your diagnosis, medical tests and treatment.

If you still have concerns after adequate discussion with your orthopaedic surgeon consider asking:

  • If I want a second opinion, whom can I consult?
  • Will I have pain following the procedure? What pain relief or pain control measures will I be given?
  • What are my limitations during recovery? Will I need assistance at home afterwards? For how long?
  • When can I return to work? When can I drive my car? When can I have sexual activity?
  • Is there anything that I can do to increase my chances for a successful outcome?

As the patient, you should request and/or confirm that the surgeon will preoperatively confirm and mark the surgical site.