Have you ever walked out of the doctor’s office feeling disappointed, confused, wanting more? You had questions left to ask, things to discuss, you do not even know exactly what went on? I never want that to happen to you again! I think together we can help you have the PERFECT appointment.
All appointments must start with a realization of why you are going to the doctor/provider. Why have you (or your spouse/family member made this appointment)? Do you have pain? Is your blood pressure out of control? Do you need your medications refilled? In medicine we call this Your Chief Complaint—If you do not know why you are going to the appointment, it makes it very hard for the provider to treat you.
Ok, we have a Chief Complaint, now it’s time to get organized. We all have means to make lists-either in our head, on our phones, or on good old paper. List what issues are related to this complaint. Where does that knee hurt, how long has it been going on, what makes it better, what have you tried that has worked for your pain? I refer to these as the Who, Where, When, and Whats.
Day of appointment remember to bring:
- List of home medications or meds themselves
- List of questions/who, where, when and whats
- Any previous imaging/records from previous medical providers for current issue
- Insurance information/photo ID
- Family member or friend to help with organization/asking questions
We are finally here, the day of your appointment. There is a lot to remember so I provided a list for you. I love to have a copy of patients’ home medications so I can review them myself. This allows for me to look for drug interactions and get a thorough medical history. In orthopedics, it is often important that we have patients’ previous operative reports and MRI scans, especially when deciding how advanced an injury has become over time.
In my line of work we see a variety of appointments including post-operative appointments. Patients often bring family members to these visits because they may not be able to drive due to crutches or braces. Family members and friends are great support at appointments! They ask questions you may not, retain info, and learn how to better take care of you. Win, Win, Win!
Lastly, and this is usually the hardest part depending on your doctor/provider. Do not leave until all your questions are answered! Sometimes this means asking for someone to come back into the room—that’s ok. You are in charge of your appointment and it is important that you understand your, medication, surgery, or treatment. If you get home and have more questions, call the office and ask. It’s ok if everyone in the office knows your name. Medicine is about you, not them!
Having a great appointment is not out of reach for anyone. It takes a little prep work, organization, and sometimes assertiveness, but you will leave feeling better and more educated about your care. In no way do I ever feel stressed by a patient with a list! Never be afraid to take charge of your health care!