A strong relationship with your primary care physician can help keep you well. Some Fresno primary care practices are doing new things to improve doctor-patient communication – including keeping track of patients’ physical activity levels and weight. For patients with a diagnosis of diabetes or hypertension, a physician follow up is also included to ensure that proper tests are performed based on the recommended frequency.
Perhaps you’ve noticed some of these recent enhancements in the relationship with your physician. If so, you might be asking the following questions:
Why is my doctor encouraging me to have additional lab tests performed?
For certain conditions, like diabetes and hypertension, national standards have been set for frequency of testing. The testing is designed to determine whether the condition is being managed appropriately. If the testing identifies a problem, your doctor may need to change how he or she treats your condition.
What if I disagree with my doctor about whether certain tests should be performed?
National standards are helpful, but all care decisions should be made jointly between you and your doctor. If you don’t understand the reason for a test or don’t want it done, your doctor should respect your preference.
Does the JHMB try to influence the manner in which my doctors treat me?
No. Federal privacy laws ensure that neither the District nor the JHMB may access personal health information. The JHMB is currently conducting a pilot program with some Fresno area primary care physicians to offer them incentives to meet national quality standards. However, the JHMB does not attempt to influence individual doctor-patient relationships.
Additional Resources: The US Department of Health and Human Services’ Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) has several resources to help you understand more about preventive screenings and prepare for discussions with your physician.
For more information on the work that the JHMB is doing to improve the quality of primary care practices, check out Part 4 of the JHMB’s Behind-the-Scenes Video Series.