How to Make the Most of Your Doctor’s Appointment
Any visit with a doctor, no matter how minor the reason, is important. After all, it concerns your health and well-being. But, medical practices tend to be very busy, and if you’re not careful, you might not benefit as much as you could from your appointments.
Because you’ll likely have precious little face time with your doctor, you should try to make the most of each visit. Ultimately, this will help your doctor help you.
Here are some tips on how to promote a productive exchange of information with your doctor:
- Prior to each appointment, jot down some notes about the issues you would like to discuss.
- Think about what you will say and how you will say it. Precision is important when describing health-related symptoms, which often can be attributed to more than one condition.
- Flesh out your list with as much detail as possible, such as when you first noticed a symptom, how long it typically lasts, when and how often it occurs, etc.
- Prioritize your list so that if you run out of time, you will be able to cover at least some of your most important topics.
- Prepare a list of the medications that you are currently taking or recently stopped taking, including over-the-counter drugs, herbal remedies, vitamins, and nutritional supplements. Also, make notes about any side effects that you experienced.
- To help ensure that you won’t forget anything, take your list with you to your appointment, along with a pen and some paper so that you can take notes.
- As you speak, allow your doctor to interject with questions. This may be necessary to clarify the information that you are providing, or to prompt you to discuss a seemingly minor detail that is actually important.
- Try not to feel embarrassed or intimidated; information about delicate matters, such as sexual practices and drug usage, is often relevant to your health and should be discussed with your doctor.
- If you feel that your doctor did not hear or understand something that you said, repeat it, and explain why it is important to you.
Of course, it’s essential to be realistic about your doctor and your healthcare in general. Not every doctor can diagnose every problem, and not every problem can be solved on the first attempt. If, after your visit, you feel that you do not have the answers you need, or if you were diagnosed with a serious health condition, you may want to seek a second opinion. Don’t worry about offending your doctor; he or she will understand that, in order for you to make the best possible healthcare decisions, you will need to have as much information as possible.
If you need to see a doctor about a non-life-threatening health issue, you are welcome to contact or visit South Tampa Immediate Care on South Howard Avenue in Tampa, FL. No appointments are ever necessary at our walk-in clinic, where you will be seen by a qualified doctor who has years of experience in identifying and treating many common illnesses and injuries.