Create an Effective Healthcare Team to Optimize Your Treatment

What can you do to ensure success in managing your afib, or even becoming afib free? Being an equal partner with your healthcare team members may go a long way toward managing or even eliminating your afib.

All too often, patients put healthcare professionals on a pedestal, but they are humans, too. They are rushed and overstressed by a health care system that may be out of control. Nobody cares as much as you do about your health. Therefore, you must steer the ship.

We know that many of you have very high expectations and want all the facts upfront. You want to know what to expect so that you can proactively take charge of your afib and your health.

We know that many afib patients value knowledge, education, and information. They do not want to relinquish control until all possible outcomes and how to deal with them are known. That is why we are here, to provide you with information and answers about managing or stopping your afib.

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By working effectively with your healthcare team, you can optimize your results. Here are some suggestions from afib patients about creating an effective healthcare team:

  • Educate yourself about afib and do your homework—this is the #1 priority in managing afib.
  • Be proactive in preparing for medical appointments—you have to take charge of your own health. Know what to ask, take questions to each visit, and think about these questions in advance to make sure that you cover everything. Prepare for your medical appointment like you would a business meeting. Know your goals and prioritize the most important questions (if you cannot get to all of them in the allotted time).
  • Doctors appreciate knowledgeable, informed, and prepared patients, so be assertive (but not aggressive) to get the care you need.
  • Don’t take huge stacks of printouts from the Internet to discuss with your healthcare providers — there just isn’t enough time for that in a short appointment. Instead, perhaps choose only the most important one and know what key messages you want to deliver about it or what you want to accomplish by sharing it with your doctor.
  • Learn to communicate effectively with your healthcare team, which means to communicate in facts rather than feelings. If you can use facts, such as “This medicine made me fall asleep at work” instead of “I feel badly from this medicine,” your doctor just may hear and understand you.
  • Understand how doctors think. The book, How Doctors Think by Jerome Groopman, MD has been around for a few years but helps you know how to communicate with your doctor and other healthcare team members.
  • Consider getting referred to a specialist such as an electrophysiologist (EP) to help with your afib. An EP is a specialized cardiologist with extra years of training to specialize in the heart’s electrical system.
  • Know when to say “Next” if you feel intimidated or overpowered by your doctor. If your doctor doesn’t listen or ask you about your values and preferences, then it may be time to move on. Mutual respect is necessary to create an effective healthcare team.

Learn more about how to Partner With Your Doctor to help you find the right solution for you, the Role of Caregivers in supporting you and as a member of the healthcare team, and about Managing Afib.

You Don't Have to Go It Alone was created for patients by patients to provide accurate information and genuine support for those affected by atrial fibrillation. Explore our online community and connect with other patients, families, and caregivers.