So going to the doctor can be overwhelming? Confusing? Heck even terrifying! You wait all week, just to have nothing go right when you finally see the doctor. If this sounds like you, check out this list of things you can do to have a better doctor visit. Because preparation is the best medicine… when it comes to doctor’s appointments.
- One Week Out – Prepare Yourself for Standard Questions.
- “How are you doing?”
- You know the doctor is going to ask you that vague and all encompassing question… so be ready for it! Start critically thinking about your health status a week or more before you go in. Start taking notice of symptoms that are either new or worse/better. Maybe you write them down or document them on a note function. Either way arm yourself with information so you can answer this question honestly and fully.
- “What medications do you take?”
- This question helps the doctor do their job better (and not prescribe something that reacts badly with what you are already taking.) Write down all of the medications and dosages you are taking and bring it with you. Or bring all of your medication bottles with you to the appointment. Then they can check it out and act accordingly.
- “Have you had any procedures since last I saw you?”
- By this, the doctor means any surgeries, hospitalizations, or an out-patient procedure (ie. colonoscopies). Like the previous question, keep track of this. If you can, make sure the doctor has the record of the procedure before you come in to the office.
- “What Questions do you have for me?”
- This can be really challenging to come with on the spot. Brainstorm any questions you may have before you arrive, and even better note them when you think of them throughout the week(s) before.
2. Day of Appointment – Keep Calm and Carry Cheat Sheets
- Arrive 15 minutes before.
- Chances are that they are going to need you to fill out some paper work. To ensure the best chance of being seen on time (and not eating into your precious appointment time – arrive 15 minutes early so you have time to fill out all the paperwork. If you can not get there early, some offices have their paperwork online for patients to fill out ahead of time.Write down what you have to do next.
- Bring Your Cheat Sheet (or bottles of medications)
- Don’t forgot about the “what medications are you taking?” question. As mentioned before either bring a sheet with all of your medications written down or just bring a bag with all of your medicine bottles. Your doctor will know what to do.
- Run Through Your Top 3 Concerns in the Waiting Room.
- Chances are that you are not going to be able to get to everything in this appointment. Brainstorm the top 3 things you want to go over with the doctor and how you are going to describe them while you are waiting to go in. Maybe make some notes. Remember this is supposed to be a collaborative process, so if there is something you want on the agenda – the doctor will want to address it. You’ll have saved some time by preparing for standard questions… now you can get your questions answered too.
3. After the Appointment – Write Down What You Have To Do For Next Time.
- Do you need another test? A new medication? Foods to avoid? Either way, write down what the doctor says to do next so you can do your part by being a responsible patient. We all think we will remember what they say, but studies show that patients forget 80% of what they are told by the time they leave the office (with memory alone.)
With these tactics, you should feel confident that in going to your next appointment, you (and your doctor) will get more out of it… Making you a happier (and hopefully healthier) you!
Excited about how preparation can create positive outcomes for your health care plan? Tracking your symptoms creates better data for doctors to use! MedZango is a texting service that translates how patients’ feel into effective data for doctors! So don’t just go to the doctor… Medzango!