The People's Medical Society in the USA encourages doctors to display the following code of practice in their clinics. This code comprises are excellent guidelines for all doctors to follow, and you might consider sharing it with your doctor!
The code runs as follows:
I will assist you in finding information resources, support groups and health care providers to help you maintain and improve your health. When you seek care for specific problems, I will abide by the following code of practice:
- I will post or provide a printed schedule of my fees for office visits, procedures, testing and surgery, and provide itemized bills.
- I will provide certain hours each week when I will be available for non-emergency telephone consultations.
- I will schedule appointments to allow the necessary time to see you with minimal waiting. I will promptly return your phone calls and inform you if your test results.
- I will allow and encourage you to bring a friend or relative into the examining room with you.
- I will facilitate your getting your medical and hospital records, and will provide you with copies of your test results.
- I will let you know your prognosis; including whether your condition is terminal or will cause disability or pain, and will explain why I believe further diagnostic activity or treatment is necessary.
- I will discuss diagnostic, treatment and medication options for your particular problem with you (including the option of no treatment) and describe in understandable terms the risk of each alternative, the chances of success, the possibility of pain, the effect on your functioning, the number of visits each would entail and the cost of each alternative.
- I will describe my qualifications to perform the proposed diagnostic measures or treatments.
- I will let you know of organizations, support groups, and medical and lay publications that can assist you in understanding, monitoring and treating your problem.
- I will not proceed until you are satisfied that you understand the benefits and risks of each alternative and I have your agreement on a particular course of action.