How often have you been to your doctor only to leave frustrated that you have not had the main reasons you were there addressed? It’s a problem, and one that is getting worse given the pressure on physicians to see more patients in a shorter amount of time. Whether you are seeing your primary care doctor, a doctor in the ER, or a specialist for the first time, here are a few tips on how to get the most out of every visit.
1) Bring a list of all medications that you take, the doses and how often you take them each day.
2) Bring a list of all your medical problems (like Diabetes, High Blood Pressure, High Cholesterol) and surgeries.
3) Bring a list of what medicines you are allergic to, if any.
4) Tell your doctor at the beginning of your visit what you would like to discuss with them.
5) Communicate with your doctor what is the one most important thing to you to be addressed at this visit.
If you bring this information with you, your doctor will not need to spend most of the visit gathering this from you or your medical records and will have more time to discuss with you why you are actually there. Taking responsibility for this information as the patient allows your doctor to more easily address your health concerns. And, communication is important too. A regular office visit usually allows for a doctor to address about 2-3 things with a patient. Any more than that will require a second visit. This is why you must prioritize your most important concerns and communicate that to your doctor.
Brooke Uptagrafft, MD
Dr. Brooke is a family medicine doctor.