Getting the most out of your doctor's visit

By Gita Agarwal, MD

Doctor’s visits are much shorter than they used to be many years ago. As a patient, you have to be prepared in order to make the most of your visit and leave the doctor’s office with all your questions answered. Here are a few tips:

If you can’t come for your appointment, be sure to call and cancel or reschedule.

  1. The day before your visit, write down the symptoms you are experiencing and the questions you want to ask the doctor.
  2. Don’t be a passive patient. Take control of your health. Ask questions if you don’t understand what your doctor is saying. Ask the doctor to explain more or speak more slowly if necessary.
  3. Tell your doctor everything related to your medical problem, even personal or intimate issues. Don’t be embarrassed. Omitting information could lead to an incorrect diagnosis or treatment.
  4. Bring the bottles, boxes or packets of all the medication you are taking. Your doctor will be able to check if that medication is working for you, if you need to increase your dosage, or if you should try something different.
  5. If you are following up after an emergency room visit, bring the discharge papers from your visit, so that the doctor knows what treatment you got in the emergency room and what additional treatment you need.

Just one more important thing: If you can’t come for your appointment, be sure to call and cancel or reschedule!


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