Make The Most Out of Your Doctor’s Visit
We’ve all been there – you’re nervous for an upcoming doctor’s appointment. While you’re there, you have to fill out paperwork about your and your family’s health history – which you don’t know off the top of your head. The visit itself goes well, but the second you leave you realize you forgot to ask a few questions you had.
Sound familiar? Doctor’s visits can definitely be overwhelming, but they are a necessary part of life and staying healthy! Thankfully, there are things you can do before, during, and after the appointment to make it less stressful and help you make the most out of your doctor’s visit.
Before The Visit
- Compile and prioritize your questions – before your appointment, make a list of all the questions you have for your doctor. Write them down in something you’ll bring with you, like your phone or a notebook, so you can refer back to the list. Because doctors have a limited amount of time with each patient, be sure to prioritize your questions in case you don’t have time to ask them all.
- Talk to your insurance company – your insurance can determine how much an appointment costs, which offices are in-network, if you need a referral, and more. Avoid any surprises by calling your insurance beforehand.
- Organize your and your family’s health history – your and your family’s health history is crucial information for your doctor. Make sure to have this information organized and bring it with you to your appointment. It should include previous diagnoses, past procedures, a list of your medications (prescription, over-the-counter, and supplements), relatives’ hereditary health conditions, etc. There are even health record/health history notebooks that you can buy to make it easier for you!
- Ask a friend or family member to go with you – doctor’s appointments can be overwhelming! Sometimes it’s worthwhile to ask a loved one to join you. They can help keep you calm as well as help take notes/ask for clarity on any of your questions.
- Complete and bring necessary paperwork – be sure to bring all necessary paperwork and materials with you. This may include your license, insurance card, medical records/test results from another office, etc. Some offices may also require you to fill out a questionnaire online prior to your appointment.
- Show up early – showing up early for your appointment will give you enough time to fill out any last-minute paperwork and help you feel less rushed and, in turn, more calm.
During The Visit
- Take notes – you may think you won’t forget anything the doctor said later. However, appointments can cover a lot of information! Be sure to take notes. You can even ask if it’s okay to record the conversation on your phone. This way, you can refer back to your notes when you need a refresher on the appointment.
- Be honest – your doctor can best help you if you’re honest. It may be tempting not to tell the whole truth if you haven’t been following their advice (e.g., if you haven’t been taking your medication as directed or maybe haven’t had the healthiest eating habits lately), but being honest with your doctor is the safest and most efficient way for them to determine your health plan.
After The Visit
- Next steps – follow through with the next steps. This may be scheduling an appointment with another doctor, scheduling a test, following a treatment plan, etc.
- Follow up – if you still have questions, follow up with the office. Give them a call or see if they have an online portal where you can message your doctor.