Getting the most from doctor visits
Doctor Visits, Make the Most of Your Visit
Get the best care possible by being ready to ask the right questions when you go for doctor visits. The internet is both a blessing and a 24 hour curse. Many websites look credible, but are not actually operated by qualified specialists or physicians. Therefore, your best bet to see your specialist and seek your information from him or her. Before you arrive for your appointment have your list of questions and concerns ready.
Prepare for Doctor Visits
- Bring along a list of your current prescriptions, vitamins and supplements you take daily or as needed. Include the proper name, dosage and when you take the medication.
- In case asked, be ready to share the names, addresses and phone numbers of other specialists and your primary care provider.
- Be able to provide pharmacy information (which pharmacy you like to use).
- Bring a list of all past surgeries, illness or hospitalizations.
- Bring a partner or friend. If your doctor visits or diagnosis might be stressful, then bring someone along who can be an extra set of ears who can also support you during your doctor visits.
Asking Questions During Doctor Visits
- Write questions down ahead of time so you don’t forget once you are sitting in the patient room before your doctor visits. Even if the questions feels awkward, it is important to develop an honest, trusting relationship with your physician.
- Ask if testing is needed. If so, what kind and how do you prepare for testing.
- If receiving prescriptions, ask about side effects, how long to take medication and contra indications.
- Inquire about lifestyle changes. Does your diagnosis require dietary changes, stop smoking or stress reduction strategies, etc.? If so, ask for guidance.
- If surgery is slated, ask questions regarding pre-operation strategies and what you should be doing before surgery.
- Ask about surgical risks. Make sure you understand all risks involved during you are there for your doctor visits.
- Understand recovery post surgery and how much time off of work is needed or if changes need to be made to your home to accommodate your healing process, such as bars in the shower, etc.
- Confirm timelines. When should you schedule tests, follow up appointments, surgeries, etc.
Establishing good communication and understanding between the patient and physician is probably one of the most important relationships we come across. Your health depends on it.