Prepare to Get the Most Out of Your Doctor Visit
When you hear, “The doctor will see you now,” be sure to make the most of every second.
During a routine “wellness” visit you are unlikely to get more than 15 minutes of face time with your physician—and often even less on a follow-up visit. Our 5-step program helps you prepare, maximize the value of your visit and leave with the facts you need.
Know Your Medical HistoryBring a folder, key ring flash drive or smartphone app with immunization dates, past lab results, and health issues and treatments, allergies and drug reactions. Include a detailed family health history plus contact information for specialists you have seen. This way, you won’t waste valuable time repeating information, especially if this is your first appointment or you have already seen other physicians. Our Quest Diagnostics Gazelle™ smartphone app keeps these data at your fingertips.
Be PreparedList any medications and/or vitamin supplements you are taking, including over-the-counter allergy meds or pain relievers, or bring in the bottles or photos of them. Note any questions to ask, even if you feel fine.
Take NotesDuring the visit, write down what your doctor says. In addition to any condition that is diagnosed or any medication prescribed, note your body mass index (BMI), weight, blood pressure and any other vitals.
Feel Free to Second-GuessDon’t be afraid to question something your physician says, whether about the safety or side effects of a medication or the necessity for a procedure. Mention if a certain medication isn’t working. If your doctor is reluctant to run a test you want, ask for an explanation. Your health could depend on it.
Then Follow ThroughIf your doctor requests a second visit, prescribes diagnostic testing or refers you to a specialist, make an appointment immediately. Be sure you receive the results of all tests. Follow up even if you were told to assume that no news is good news. Paperwork sometimes falls through the cracks.
For more on making the most of your doctor appointments, visit the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality website.