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What can you do to prepare for your doctor appointment?

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Before:

  • Make a list of your questions and concerns and prioritize them. Make a list of what you want to discuss, placing the most important questions and concerns at the top. Don’t put these concerns off until the end of the appointment; bring them up right away!

  • Bring a list of all medical information. This includes any prescription or over-the-counter drugs you may be taking, as well as any vitamins and supplements, or herbal remedies. Also, be sure to bring your insurance card or information along with the names and contact information of any other doctors you see.

  • Call the office if you have special needs. Be sure to ask for an interpreter if you do not speak or understand English very well. You may be more comfortable speaking your own language when it comes to sensitive subjects.

  • Consider bringing a family member or friend. Your companion can remind you of what you planned to discuss with your doctor, as well as offer support, help take notes or remember information discussed during the appointment.

During:

  • Plan to update your doctor. Go over your list of questions and concerns, asking your most important questions first. Update your doctor with any changes in your medical history, such as Emergency Room visits, specialty visits, or changes in medications and their effects. Also bring up any recent changes you may have noticed, such as a change in appetite, sleeping patterns, weight, and/or energy levels.

  • Answer all your doctor’s questions. Tell the doctor about current or past health conditions, including those of family members. Be honest about your allergies, diet, sexual history, and amount you exercise, as well as any smoking, alcohol or drug use. Don't leave anything out because you're embarrassed or uncomfortable; chances are your doctor or nurse has heard it before.

  • Be sure to understand any diagnosis or changes in your treatment plan before you leave. Ask questions about any new medications prescribed, such as can you take it with other medications? What are the side effects? Is there a generic version available? Ask about your treatment and condition. How long different treatments take? What treatments are covered by my health insurance? In what ways can I ease my symptoms?

After:

  • Make all necessary appointments. Make any necessary appointments as ordered by your doctor. These may include a follow-up appointment, appointments to see a specialist or to have appropriate lab testing done. Be sure to keep these appointments.

  • Monitor your symptoms. If you have any worsening symptoms or problems with your medication, be sure to contact your doctor office.

  • Follow up about test results. If you had tests and did not hear back from your doctor office, call for the results.

  • Follow recommended preventive care and wellness lifestyle changes. Have mammograms, flu shots, and colonoscopies when necessary. Also follow recommendations regarding smoking cessation, diet changes, and exercise. Work on goals with your doctor office to improve your health.