When you go to the doctor’s office, do you prepare? Do write a list of questions on things that have come up since the last visit? Do you review your medications and make notes about how you are feeling, or note any side effects you notice? If you had lab work or any diagnostic testing done, do you check to make sure the results are in your patient portal so you can talk to the doctor about them? If so, print them off and keep them in your folder so you can show them to the doctor if he does not have them for your appointment. Doing these things can help you have a productive doctor’s appointment.

Preparing for your doctor’s appointment is important. You usually have a limited amount of time with the doctor, so you want to maximize your time. Taking the time to prepare will help you and your doctor.

Doctors only know what you tell them, so if something is not working or you notice things that are unusual – let the doctor know so he can assess you and make changes as needed.

Doing these things takes a little time, but can help you help yourself. Be an active patient in your health care so you can work with your doctor and treatment team to keep things on track and coordinate care so things that need to get done – get done.

No doctor or nurse can be with you 24/7. They are not mind reads. So it is up to you to keep track of things. No detail is too small to mention. Know when your medications need to be renewed so you can remind them during the visit. Ask about your test to find out the results, know what was found, and ask about next steps.

Make notes while you are with the doctor to remember what was said, what you need to do, and what the doctor/nurse needs to do for you. Put a due date on any activities so you know when things should be done. Doing so allows you to follow up so things don’t get lost.

Don’t depend on the office to follow up on lab work or diagnostic testing. Yes, this is their job, but they are busy and have many things to do, and your results can get lost in the mountain of follow-ups they do each day. Doing it yourself ensures it will get done.

Also, as I have shared, bring someone with you so they can hear what was said and what the follow-up is. Acknowledging the staff and building rapport with office staff is also something you can do. Ask them about themselves. Building a good rapport can help if you need something after you leave the office.

Being an active member of your healthcare team allows you to be involved, which gives you ownership and control.

I hope this post helps you prepare for your next doctor’s appointment – stay well!


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