Preparing for Doctor Visit

Preparing for Your Doctor Visit

To help you establish the best possible relationship with your doctor, it is important to prepare ahead of time for your appointment.

The following tips can help you make the most of your appointment:

  • If this is a first visit, make sure your previous medical records are available to your new physician. Arrange to have copies of your records sent to your new physician.

  • Be prepared to provide a complete medical history, including information regarding illnesses, conditions and treatments, surgeries and a family medical history.

  • Bring in their original containers any prescription and over-the-counter medications, herbs and nutritional supplements you are taking.

  • Provide a list of any past prescriptions you have taken for previous medical conditions.

  • Tell your physician about any allergies you may have or any adverse reactions to medicationsyou have experienced.

  • Bring a photo identification card and insurance card.

If your appointment is about a specific injury or symptom, your physician may also ask you any of the following questions:

  • Is there a known cause for your problem?

  • What do you think is the cause of you problem?

  • What medications you are taking to treat this injury or symptom? What strength and how often do you take them?

  • If you are in pain, is it steady or periodic; sharp, achy or dull?

  • Is your condition getting better or worse? Is there a cause for this perceived change?

  • Have you had this illness/injury before? How was it treated?

  • Have you had any changes in body temperature, heart rate or breathing?

  • Are you being treated for any other medical conditions?

  • Are there any other symptoms or important information your physician should know?

Questions to Ask Your Physician

  • What is my diagnosis, and how can it be treated or prevented?

  • What medication should I be taking, how much and how often?

  • Are there any common side effects I should be aware of?

  • Should I avoid certain foods, juice or alcohol while taking the medicine?

  • Does my illness or injury restrict me from any of my normal daily life activities?

  • If you are awaiting test results, who should call whom and when?

  • If you have a prescription benefit, remind your doctor which insurance company is responsible for your coverage to determine if the medication you need is covered by your health plan.

Tips For Communicating With Your Physician

It is important to communicate your feelings, questions, and concerns with your physician. The following suggestions may help to improve communication between you and your physician:

  • If you do not understand your physician's responses, ask questions until you do.

  • Take notes, or ask a family member or friend to accompany you and take notes for you. You can also bring a tape recorder, so you can review information later.

  • Ask your physician to write down his/her instructions, if necessary.

  • Ask your physician where you can find printed material about your condition. Many physicians have this information in their offices.

  • If you still have questions, ask the physician where you can go for more information.