Preparing For Your Next Doctor Visit

How to prepare for visiting the doctorA trip to the doctor can often take longer than you expected and end with more questions than when you started. Here we have some tips to help you get the most out of your next appointment!

1. Know your family history. Ask yourself who in my family knows the most about our medical history?  Many illnesses run in the family and these health problems can act as clues when it comes to finding your health risks. My Family Health Portait allows you to save your family medical history and keep track of it.

2. Know your own medical history.  Keep track of any health screenings, recent lab work, surgery, health problems and immunizations (vaccinations).  Bring copies of any medical records you have.

3. Write down your top 3 concerns and reason for visiting your healthcare provider before you go, then share them with your doctor.  Many of us forget some of our concerns and problems once we are in our appointments. If you are embarrassed about sharing your concerns with your provider, practice talking in front of a mirror. Always talk about these concerns first when you are in your appointment. You could also ask if there is a way to e-mail your concerns to your healthcare provider.  Sometimes it is easier to put things in writing than it is to say them.

4. If you plan on talking to your healthcare provider about several problems/concerns, schedule a longer appointment time.

5. Don’t be afraid to ask questions! Asking questions shows concern for your health.

6. Make a list of medications that you are taking, including: prescription drugs, over the counter drugs and vitamins.

7. Keep a list of symptoms and any recent changes in your health. When keeping track of symptoms try to write down the time you have them and how often.

8. If you have pain as a symptom or concern then you should keep track of when it happens, where you are having pain, for how long, activities you were doing around that time, and rate the pain on a scale from 1 to 10. Keeping a journal of your symptoms will help the get to the root of the problem!

9. Ask a friend of family member to go to the doctor with you if you need help or support.

10. Keep a list of your allergies to give to your health care provider.

For Women:

1. In the three days before your appointment, you should avoid having sex, douching, or placing anything inside your vagina. (You should never douche. Douching is bad for you; it causes an unbalance of bacteria and can increase your risk of infection.)

2. Shower or bathe the day of your appointment.

3. Make sure you schedule your appointment for a time that you are not menstruating (on your period).

4. Know the date of your last menstrual period.

Questions to ask your healthcare provider:

Asking your healthcare provider questions shows concern about your health. Listening to advice and instructions from your provider and then taking action will help you make the most of your visits.

1. Ask questions about your medical condition.
2. Ask about treatment options
3. Ask about any medicine prescribed. Ask about side-effects to look out for and drug interactions.
4. If you don’t understand something your provider tells you, then you should ask questions.
5. Ask questions about test results or how to prepare for upcoming tests.

Example Questions:

What might be causing these symptoms?
How do you want to treat this illness?
Are there other ways to treat this illness?
Are there any lifestyle changes that will help me with this illness?
What can I do to prevent this from getting worse?
Are there other health problems this could lead to?
Are there any tests that you recommend?
What is the cost of my treatment options?
What is the cost of testing procedures?
What do I do to prepare for my labwork/test procedures?
What should I expect during my next appointment?
How long should I expect to wait for my results?
Will someone call me with the results?
What are your office hours?
What is the best way to get in reach with the doctor(healthcare provider)?
Who can I call for an emergency when the doctor is away?