By Deborah Nalty, MD, Providence Medical Group
It’s not always easy spending time in the doctor’s office, even for a routine visit. For doctors, appointments have their challenges, as well. Not one patient is the same; everyone has their own way of seeing the world and each communicates in their own unique way. So how can we work together to maximize this valuable time?
To make your visit as smooth and productive as possible consider these quick tips to help you prepare in advance for your next doctor’s visit.
Come Prepared with Your Concerns.
If you sometimes feel uncomfortable explaining the purpose of your visit, or there are a couple of different issues you’d like to address, make a list. This will help you focus the conversation and make it easier to communicate what’s important to you. Most importantly, it will ensure you get all of your questions addressed.
Bring a List of Medications and Supplements.
Having a list of the medications and over-the-counter drugs you are taking helps your doctor understand your current situation. Sometimes, complications can happen when different drugs interact with each other, and providing your doctor with all of the information up front is crucial to help you both make smart and safe decisions.
At least once per year, and any time you are discharged from the hospital, it is very, very important to bring all your medications to the doctor in a paper bag so that your dosages can be properly confirmed. Your doctor will thank you for this.
Keep a Health Journal.
When you arrive at the clinic for your visit, your doctor will ask about your symptoms and whether certain activities or foods aggravate your condition. By keeping a personal health journal, you can record changes in how you feel based on the choices you make. For example, fresh onions give you heartburn but grilled onions do not. Info like this can help shine light on what could be at the root of your discomfort or pain.
Communication is the cornerstone of any doctor/patient relationship. If you didn’t understand something your doctor said or have additional questions, it’s important to speak up. Don’t leave your visit wondering about next steps. You may want to consider taking notes or having a family member present to help you in getting all the information you need to take care of yourself after your visit.
If you get home and still have questions, please call your doctor’s office to get clarification. Providence Medical Group patients can also email their doctor directly through MyChart electronic medical records system.
Whichever means you choose to connect with your doctor, communication is always the key to effective care. If you cannot really talk with your doctor about your life and your troubles, tell them that! Doctors can be really surprised to hear that they are not good listeners, and it usually makes them a lot better. If that does not go well, you need to find another doctor.