Setting Health Care Goals with Your Physician

Research suggests that when patients participate in the goal setting process, they are more likely to achieve positive changes in their health status. Health care goals can be long-term or short-term, complex or simple. What are your health goals? Use the following suggestions to help you set and achieve your personal health care goals.

Establish Goals with Your Physician

Goals should be made with your physician following a discussion of pertinent diagnosis and treatment recommendations. Once an agreed upon goal is decided, you can review a plan of action necessary to reach that goal. This approach will demand an increased involvement in your own care.

For example, if you and your physician decide to set a health goal of lowering your blood pressure, establish a timetable for its accomplishment. Action steps would be mutually reviewed between you and your physician. Your strategies may include a combination of medication, nutrition, education and exercise. The physician becomes your collaborator and advocate in these goal-setting interactions. A much closer physician-patient relationship will result in this goal-oriented approach.

Effective Goal Setting

Successful teamwork with your physician is essential in the goal setting process. Allow your physician to assist you achieve your goal by providing education, recommendations and encouragement. The most effective health care goals are:

o Specific
o Measurable
o Attainable

It is important to review your goals with your physician during each visit. Document your progress in a medical organizer. You can then adjust your goals as needed and seek additional information and support.

Appropriately set health care goals will help you reach your maximum health potential. Action will occur only if the goal is meaningful to you. Believing in your ability to reach your goal and a daily commitment to achieving it is critical to your overall health.

 

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