For many people, visiting the doctor is a frustrating experience.
You schedule an appointment, travel to the office, usually wait in the lobby, then spend more time waiting for the doctor. And at the end of it all, you walk away feeling like you may have missed something.
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Next time, follow these six steps to do your part to get the most out of your visit to the doctor.
1. Arrive prepared
Write a list of the concerns you have to tell your doctor. For each concern, come up with dates when symptoms started, when they worsened or improved and what, if anything, has or has not helped.
2. Be thorough when scheduling
When calling to set up the appointment, mention everything you want to discuss with the doctor. Also, be sure to ask if you are due for any vaccinations, screenings or lab tests before your visit. This will help the doctor’s office schedule accordingly.
3. Invite a buddy
It can often be difficult to remember all of the doctor’s advice. Some patients benefit from bringing an adult family member or friend with them for the visit. After all, two heads are better than one.
4. Ask questions
If you need more explanation, don’t be afraid to ask. It’s also a good idea to write down any important notes or instructions yourself or have your doctor write them for you. Or if you really want to be thorough, you can record the visit. Just make sure your device works!
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5. Be honest
It’s important for your physician to know any and all factors that have an affect on your health, including current medications you’re taking, sexual history, smoking habits, or even financial worries. These can all be important factors in helping your doctor understand your health.
6. Follow up right away, if needed
Before you leave, ask your doctor when you should return or if you need to see another physician or specialist. Then be sure to schedule any follow-up visits as soon as you can.