How do you prepare for a doctor visit? Have you ever experienced, or can you picture, the following scenario?
You have a health-related issue and want to see your doctor. You call to make the appointment. You wait and monitor the issue until the day of the appointment. You think about the appointment as you get ready and drive to the office. You think about the visit while in the waiting room. You briefly tell the assistant about the issue while you are being checked in with your weight, blood pressure, etc. You think more about the issue while waiting for your provider to enter the room. Then, your provider comes in and your mind goes blank.
Has this ever happened to you? Even if you remembered most of what you wanted to discuss, did you leave and realize you forgot to mention something important?
Doctor Visit Preparation
This happens all too often! Sometimes people feel rushed. Sometimes they get caught up in conversation with their doctor and don’t realize the time available for the appointment has slipped way. I have had patients bring up important information at the very end of appointments many times. It is so late that we can’t fully address the issue with the time remaining.
So, what can you do to avoid this situation?
Here are some important steps to help you get the most from your healthcare visits.
- From the time the issue arises until your appointment, write down important details your doctor will want to know.
- When did it start?
- How did it start?
- What makes it worse?
- What makes it better?
- Use good descriptive words to describe your symptoms.
- How often does it occur?
- Have you had something like this happen before?
- What has changed that might be related to this issue?
- Keep a journal of how the issue impacts you daily.
- What outcome are you hoping to have from your visit?
- Prioritize the issues you want to discuss at the appointment.
- Limit your list to the top 3. You can bring others to mention if there is time, but most visits have time for only 1 major or up to 3 more minor issues.
- Bring two copies of your list to your appointment.
- Give the list to the assistant who checks you in. He/she can then give it to your provider to review before coming in to the room with you. This will save a lot of time in the first part of your appointment.
- When your provider comes in the room, you will each have a copy. This will take the pressure off of you to remember the details. It will also help guide your provider to quickly understand the issue(s) you want to talk about.
- You can now have a more relaxed conversation with your provider in the time that is available for your visit.
Your provider will truly appreciate this approach. Keep in mind, for some symptoms your provider only knows what you tell him/her. So, the more thorough you can be, the better your provider can make the correct diagnosis.
Consider your healthcare to be a partnership rather than a one-way interaction. You and your providers will feel better about your relationship.
For more information about preparing for doctor visits, contact us at www.medsmash.com.
For further application, check out my personal blog.