Gilbert doc’s book breaks down medical jargon SanTan Sun News

Gilbert doc’s book breaks down medical jargon

May 24th, 2021 STSN Staff
Gilbert doc’s book breaks down medical jargon
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By ASHLYN ROBINETTE
Staff Writer

When at the doctor’s office, chances are you don’t understand all of the medical lingo thrown at you.

A new book by Gilbert physician Dr. Maxine Morris Stewart helps to decipher that jargon.

“Making Sense of Doctor Talk: How To Get The Most Out Of The Healthcare System” decodes medical terminology to bridge the knowledge gap between patients and healthcare providers, said Stewart, a Redirect Health primary care provider.

Stewart said she wanted to create a resource that would end the language barrier between patients and doctors because miscommunication can cause confusion and poor health outcomes.

The book is designed to help people understand their condition and achieve healthcare goals “in a simple enough way that even if you’re starting at ground zero and don’t understand much, you’ll easily learn the doctor lingo and what it means for your health,” Stewart said.

During her second year of working as a nurse practitioner, Stewart went into people’s homes to conduct health assessments and discovered that most individuals who had multiple comorbid conditions and were taking up to 20 medications didn’t understand what they had and why they were taking the meds.

Even though of them were under a specialist’s care, they just followed their doctor’s directives without really understanding what was going on, Stewart said.

“I discovered that not only did I really enjoy educating them about the process, but that they were actually picking up on the concepts when I found analogies and things to help them,” Stewart said.

“I think that it made a difference on whether or not they were taking their meds like they were supposed to and achieving their healthcare goals.”

Stewart wondered how many other people were out there with the same issues and what she could do about it.

Motivated to provide comprehensive healthcare to all, Stewart wrote her book to give patients with low “health literacy” the knowledge and ability to take charge of their health and achieve better treatment results.

“If patients understand the terminology and more about what’s happening with their body and can describe how they’re feeling, then they can move closer to the middle ground where their healthcare provider’s language is,” Stewart said. “Then they will see better health outcomes.”

To help patients keep track of their healthcare information and history, “Making Sense of Doctor Talk” includes 16 fill-in tables to chart things like medications, supplements, dosages, providers, allergies, vaccinations, lab test results, and dates of appointments, surgeries and procedures.

Stewart said her book is lightweight and easily transportable so that patients can take it to doctors’ offices and use it to review what they’re going to tell and show their healthcare providers.

They also can review their medications and history and easily find their condition in the book along with explanations for terms that may be used in conversations with their doctor.

“Patients need to understand that they know their bodies best so if they know the symptoms and what doctors and nurses are looking for when they go into the office, then they are in a better position to answer their questions,” Stewart said. “You are helping them help you.”

Ultimately, Stewart hopes her book will help individuals understand medical lingo and that patients will utilize its features to help them be better consumers of health.

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