Get the Most Out of Your Doctor's Appointment
5 Tips for Talking With Your Doctor
The beginning of the year means it’s time to start scheduling your annual check-ups.
Flu season is still in effect, allergy season has just begun, and with the cooler weather, we are all staying indoors more which means one of us is bound to be a victim to someone else’s’ germs.
Seeing your doctor is an important part of staying healthy. But when was the last time you left the doctor's office feeling satisfied with your visit? Did they address all of your concerns or did you feel rushed, got your list of medications to pick up, and went on your way?
It’s important to have an open dialogue with your doctor in order for your needs to be met.
Here are a few tips to consider:
1. Be Honest
This is the only tip you really need to read. If you don’t do this, nothing else matters anyway.
The reason for the doctor’s visit is to help you feel better or get you the help you need. The doctor can’t help you if they don’t know what’s wrong with you.
They’re not your parents or the police. They’re simply there to take care of your medical problem.
So be honest with them! Alcohol and drugs can have different effects on your body depending on how they’re being used. Even if you only have a few drinks on the weekend, it’s something you should consider sharing with your doctor.
This applies to any activity that could affect your health mentally or physically. So yes, if they ask about your sexual activity, it would be wise to tell them the truth.
Remember, they can’t share information about you without your permission. Your medical records are protected by HIPPA laws and no one can have access unless you give it to them.
2. Prepare For Your Visits
If something has been bothering you for a while, keep track of any symptoms you have had. Write down your questions or concerns.
In a perfect world, you would have all day to discuss your health with your doctor. But unfortunately, you’ll only get about 15 minutes so be sure to prioritize what you want to be answered first.
Also, keep a list of all the medications you’re currently taking. This includes any over the counter medicines, vitamins, and supplements.
Know where you’re going ahead of time - If you haven’t been to the doctor in a while, make sure you know the exact location so you don’t miss your appointment.
3. Share What You Know
Remember what I said about the limited time? It’s a lot easier for the doctor to help you if you tell them what you already know about your situation.
If you know that certain medications or treatments haven’t worked in the past, let them know. If you have a family history of certain health conditions, this is the time to say so.
And when they do give you recommendations or medications on how to treat your issue, repeat it back to them in your own words. This helps you clarify the doctor’s instructions and it shows the doctor that you understood what they said.
4. Speak Up
You have to speak up for yourself. This goes hand in hand with #3.
If you have any concerns about anything the doctor is telling you, then ask them about it.
Worried because your family has a history of diabetes? Then ask the doctor to check your sugar levels.
Ask the doctor why they are giving you the specific medication. If you are confused, say so. And if you run out of time but still have more questions, make a follow-up appointment.
Remember, they are there to help you.
If it's after-hours and you still need help, there are multiple ways to connect with your doctor or another health care provider at the office. They may have special phone lines or online portals where you can chat with a nurse or pharmacist at any time of the day.
5. Bring Someone With You
If you’re nervous about speaking to your doctor, bring a close family member or friend to go with you.
This is also helpful if you have trouble understanding the instructions the doctor has given you. Also, having someone else there can help you remember to ask certain questions or support you during tough times.
What other tips would you give for others to have a successful doctor’s visit?
Let me know in the comments!