How to Get the Most Out of a Doctor’s Appointment

It’s easy to feel hurried and confused at a doctor’s appointment or unsure of the information and instructions you are given.

The medical system is complicated and may be overwhelming. But with a little preparation you can become your own health advocate. In order to get the best possible outcomes, it really helps to be active.

Here are some ways to make sure that you get the most out of a visit to the doctor.

Get Ready Ahead of the Doctor’s Appointment.

How many times have you left a doctor’s appointment only to think of a question that you wish you’d asked during the appointment? This can be easily resolved by creating a list of questions ahead of the visit to the doctor’s. The questions can be about something complicated, including your treatment, or simple, like if you should get a flu shot. Write down your own questions, because it is so easy to forget everything you wanted to ask.

Describe Your Symptoms to the Doctor

Give all information regarding your symptoms and other health concerns, even when you’re not asked. The doctor needs to understand why you are there and what is bothering you. Take into consideration which health problems you may have. Are you currently struggling with insomnia, or feeling depressed all of the time, or having even more heartburn than normal? The more information your doctor has, the better he or she can get to the bottom of what’s going on with your body.

Ask the Doctor Questions

Remember, it is your body and you should be the person who is most motivated to know about what’s going on with your body. It is much better to be pushy than not to understand what to do to take care of yourself. Ask your doctor anything and everything, and write down the answers.

Bring a Buddy to the Doctor’s Appointment

Because doctor’s appointments may be a little confusing, it will help to have an extra pair of ears to pick up on directions and other information. It is tough to keep track of all the information from your doctor. Having someone who can take notes and help you have more info can be helpful, because it can be overwhelming to listen to information about a new diagnosis or complicated changes to your medicines.

Bring Drugs You’re Currently Taking

Bringing your current list of drugs to show your physician helps the physician understand what you’re taking. Include the names of the medications, the doses, and the schedule of when you take those drugs. This includes vitamins, nutritional supplements, and over-the-counter medication. You can also simply put all of your pill bottles and other medicines in a reclosable plastic bag. That’s easier for you because you don’t need to write down complicated names and doses.

Get a Recap of the Appointment.

Before leaving your appointment, ask for a recap. Write things down, so you can recall what you talked about after the doctor’s appointment. And also, make sure to know how to contact your physician’s office if you have further questions. How are you supposed to let them know if the treatment is–or isn’t–working? How can you get in touch with somebody?