There are many reasons that you visit a physician. You may feel sick, be injured, or you may need a physical. You might have a chronic medical problem that needs attention or you need advice about your general health. Whatever the reason, a few simple preparations will help you get the most out of your time with the physician.
Make a list of what you want to discuss.
Before leaving home, make a list of things you need to tell the physician. What health issues or symptoms are you concerned about? How long have you had these symptoms? What is your medical history? Also, write down the names and dosages of any medications or supplements that you take.
You can also bring your medications with you. Do not assume that you will be able to remember everything. Medical visits can be stressful for many people and they often forget what they want to discuss. A simple list will solve that problem. Consider bringing a family member or trusted friend to help you remember what is said.
Be honest with your physician.
Your physician wants to work with you to determine the best course of treatment based upon your symptoms, medical history, overall health, and other factors. Help your physician help you by being direct, open and honest. It will help improve the quality of your care.
Your physician will also want to know when you started feeling sick or how and when you were injured. These questions will help determine the nature and severity of your problem. Answer the questions completely. Refer to your list for any side effects from medications, relevant health issues such as blood pressure or blood sugar readings, or anything else that might be related to your problems.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Your physician should explain your health issues, treatments and tests in simple terms but don’t hesitate to say “I don’t understand.” It is never wrong to ask a physician to clarify something he or she says. When in doubt, repeat what you heard and ask if that is correct.
Many medical problems and injuries can be evaluated and treated in a relatively straightforward way, but this is not always the case. Be prepared for the possibility that further tests may be required to completely understand and treat your problem. Tell the physician of any previous treatments that you may have had for the same or similar problems.
Make sure that you understand your diagnosis and any instructions that you receive including how to take any medications that are prescribed.
Follow through on instructions.
As you discuss your issues with your physician, take notes. At Patient First, the physician will usually give you written instructions as to what you need to do.
Once you leave the office, make sure that you follow your physician’s instructions. That includes making any recommended lifestyle changes, like stopping smoking, adapting to a healthier diet and exercising.
Call your physician if your condition does not improve or worsens and keep any follow-up appointment. If you are confused about what to do at home, call the physician’s office and ask for clarification.
All of these steps are important if you are going to be an active partner in your own health care and get the most from your visit. Your physician will tell you what you need to do. It is up to you to do what he or she recommends.