Tips from the trenches

 

Get the most from your doctor appointment

When you and your doctor team together, you get the best care.

Before the visit:

Time is very short. Be prepared to help your doctor help you.

  • Prepare to tell your story. Create a brief summary and timeline of your health changes.
    1. -When you first noticed the health changes & how they felt
      -Patterns (always in the morning, only when standing, etc.)
      -Factors that improve or worsen them
      -The results of any treatments or medicines you have tried
      -If your symptoms have changed, in what ways
      -If you have ever had these symptoms before
  • Bring a list of your current medications, supplements, vitamins and dosages.
  • If you have had any tests, ask the office if you should bring the results with your or if they will get them.
  • Make a list of your questions in order of importance.
  • If you always carry your phone; take a picture of your notes or type them in your phone.

During your visit:

Tell your story.

  • It can feel awkward, but tell your story. Share the information you have prepared and tell your doctor the full truth about how you feel.
  • Ask the doctor if there is anything else s/he might need from you that has not been discussed.
  • If you are given a treatment plan, ask when you should start to feel better and what to do if you don’t.
  • If a follow-up appointment is needed, set it up that day. If you’re told you will get a call to schedule, call them if you don’t hear back in 24-48 hours.
  • If your doctor is uncertain about the cause of your health changes, ask what changes or new symptoms you should be watching for. It’s important to note changes between visits and share them.

After the visit:

Be aware.

  • Act if your symptoms change or worsen. Tell your doctor about new or worsening health changes ASAP.

The Power of You – Being a proactive and empowered patient always pays off. If your health concern turns out to be nothing serious, celebrate. If it ends up being something, celebrate that now you can get the care you need.  With early detection, your treatment is likely to be easier and you will have more options.