For your next doctor’s visit, make sure you make the most out of your time as well as the doctors. Use these helpful suggestions to be prepared as much as possible.
Before your appointment
To be efficient make sure that the doctors office accepts your insurance. This is an important step to making sure that your insurance will help cover your medical costs. You can call or go online to your insurance website to see a directory of in-network care providers. If you are a new patient, make sure you bring your insurance card, state issued drivers license and complete the new patient paperwork prior to your appointment. If you have any requests that require paperwork, for example, you’re going on state disability, or you’re in need of a handicapped placard, let your provider know early in the visit. Lengthy paperwork often requires your input, too, so plan for enough time during the visit to fill in the vital information. Arriving 15 minutes ahead of your scheduled appointment time is recommended.
When making the appointment, either by phone or online, provide some details about your concern so that a proper appointment time can be scheduled. If it is your first visit to this particular physician or clinic, be ready to provide information about diseases that run in your family and describe your current and past health problems and treatments. Bring all medical records, test results, and immunization records. Additionally, rank your list and prioritize your concerns.
Taking these steps before your medical appointments will help you to make the most of your time with your doctor and their health care team. Make a list of the medications you have taken or currently take. Including the dosages and frequency of prescriptions. Don’t forget to include your over the counter medications as well.
Find a friend or family member to accompany you to your visit. A lot of information may be presented at the doctor’s visit, it may be helpful to have a friend or relative to help you write things down and share medical information.
During your appointment
Share your symptoms and relevant health history. Your health is worth the time, repeat what the doctor has told you to be sure you understand and ask for clarification if necessary. Try to reach an understanding about your treatment plan. Asking questions about your diagnosis, treatments and medicines can improve the quality, safety, and effectiveness of your health care.
Here are some question suggestions to ask at your next visit. A curious patient is a healthy patient!
- What do my blood pressure numbers mean?
- What should my blood pressure be?
- What should I know about the medicine you prescribed?
- What are the side effects of this medication?
- What should I do to prepare for my next visit?
- How many patients like me have you treated?
- What do you think is causing my problem?
- Is there more than one condition (disease) that could be causing my problem?
- What tests will you do to diagnose the problem and which of the conditions is present?
- How good are the tests for diagnosing the problem and the conditions?
- What is the likely course of this condition? What is the long-term outlook with and without treatment?
- What are my treatment options? How effective is each treatment option? What are the benefits versus risks of each treatment option?
- If my symptoms worsen, what should I do on my own? When should I contact you?
- Are you aware of each of the medications that I am taking? Can they adversely interact with the medications you are prescribing for me?
Leaving your appointment
Find out when you should return and make the follow-up appointment then. It may also be a good time to ask if you need to watch for certain warning signs, for your condition at what point if any, do you need to call in. Lastly, if you have received a new prescription, make sure you understand what it is for, the side effects and the dosing schedule. Your physician or nursing staff will be able to provide you with this information.
You should leave your doctor’s office feeling like your concerns were heard and acknowledged. Together, you and your doctor should come up with a health care plan that feels right for your needs.
If you have shoulder or knee pain, you may need to see a specialist. Call 713-766-0023 or visit www.wjbryanmd.com to schedule an appointment with Orthopedic Surgeon, Dr. William Bryan. He’s been in practice for over thirty-five years at the Texas Medical Center in Houston.