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Seven tips to have a successful doctor’s apointment January 19, 2006

Posted by medicalanswers in patient-doctor relationship.

I had clinic today, and one of my patients, a very active elderly woman, brought a printed list of medications and had written the questions she had for me. We went over most of them in the visit and she seemed happy when she left.

This got me thinking, if you go see your accountant, it is likely you will bring all important documents for him to give you the best assessment of your situation. If you think of your doctor as something as an “expert advisor”, then the more information you give him, the more likely he will be able to assess correctly your needs and provide an appropriate plan of action.This is an incomplete list of the things you can do to get more out of your doctor’s visit:

  1. The night before your appointment, make a list of the questions you want to ask.
  2. If you think it will not interfere with your privacy, bring along somebody who is close to you. Studies have shown that we do not retain all the information our doctor gives us. A “chaperone” will not be as nervous, and will probable retain more information.
  3. Have with you a current list of your medications. If you haven’t had time to do this, bring the bottles!
  4. If you have copies of any tests, take them with you to the doctor. There is a chance she/he has not gotten the results.
  5. Remember to ask questions. If you do not understand something the doctor said, ask for him to repeat it, or to explain it better. It will help you understand more of what is going on. It is definitely not a waste of his time.
  6. Ask for written recommendations. This will help you remember later when you get home.
  7. Find out what is the best way to contact your doctor. Sometimes just calling their office will be fine. Other possibilities include calling the hospital where the doctor works. One of the physicians I work with gives his e-mail to patients, he checks it regularly (compulsively!) and has yielded very good results for both parts.

I guess the most important thing to do it’s to think in advance, particularly of what you want to get from your visit to the doctor. The more you get out of it, the better for you.



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