Whether you have an appointment with one of your long-time providers, or you are seeing a new doctor for the first time, it’s important to plan ahead so that you get the best possible care during your visit. By following these simple tips, you’re more likely to get your questions answered, understand your treatment and remember what the next steps are.

  1. Make lists for your appointment
  2. Bring someone with you
  3. Listen closely and ask lots of questions
  4. Establish the next steps
  5. Follow through on the doctor’s orders

Before your appointment

Tip #1: make lists for your appointment

Set aside time before your appointment to make lists of all your important health information, as well as questions you have for your doctor. By doing this ahead of time, you’ll be more thorough and less likely to miss anything important.

Here’s what to include:

  • Questions for your doctor.
  • Detailed information about your current health condition, including symptoms, family health history or exposure to illness.
  • All medications and supplements you currently take.
  • Any allergies you have.

During your appointment

Tip #2: bring someone with you

Consider bringing a friend or loved one with you for help. If you’re feeling ill or have a serious health condition, they can help you get to the office safely. Another bonus is that they can listen, take notes and help you ask important questions.

Tip #3: listen closely and ask questions

First, make sure you answer your doctor's questions honestly and thoroughly. This will help your doctor accurately diagnose your issues or help identify health issues.

Make sure you understand what your doctor is telling you. If they recommend a treatment or procedure, ask about costs, risks, side effects and alternative options.

Take notes so that you don’t forget anything you discussed with your doctor. If you think of questions after your appointment, you should reach out to your doctor again.

Tip #4: establish next steps

Before you leave the doctor’s office, make sure you’re clear about the next steps and when they need to happen. Do you have follow-up appointments? Do you need to pick up any prescriptions? Make sure you're in the know on what's next.

After your appointment

Tip #5: follow through on the doctor’s orders

You may need to come in for a test, schedule a follow-up appointment or fill a prescription. Make sure you follow through and complete the next steps to keep your treatment on track.

It’s also important to watch for possible health issues if you start a new treatment or medication. If you experience any problems or symptoms, don’t hesitate to call your doctor.

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