Your visit with a specialist doctor is important. It can be most useful if you plan. The following checklist will help you get the most out of each visit.
Before You Go
Find out the basics:
Location. Time to arrive. If you are going to drive, check about parking.
Do you need to bring your insurance card? Do you need a medical referral?
Compile your records.
Collect your medical documents and records to take to the doctor’s office. These may include:
- Relevant medical records from other doctors
- Original reports of x-rays, CT Scans, MRI’s if any
- Results from any lab tests
Make written lists.
- Note down names and details of medications you regularly take including vitamin supplements, over-the-counter medicines including herbal, Ayurveda and homoeopathic medicines.
- Your complete medical history such as treatments taken for any problems such as heart, blood pressure, thyroid
- Any previous surgeries, even if they are not connected to the present ailment
- Note down all known allergies or reactions to medications or other substances
- Family medical history
- Your fears about your condition (pains, loss of mobility or function)
Bring a friend.
- Taking along a friend or family member could help in remembering to ask all questions, as well as note down information your doctor provides.
- If you have a problem in understanding the language, do not rely on a child to do the translation. Get an adult to come with you.
- For gynaecology, spine and other problems you may be asked to undress. Wear loose clothing that is easy to take off and put on.
At the Doctor’s Office
- Plan time needed to complete any required forms or tests before meeting with your doctor.
Be honest and complete in talking with your doctor.
- Do not be shy or embarrassed to ask questions or provide information
Stick to the point.
- It might be fun to discuss politics and the latest news, but keeping the conversation focussed helps to make most of the visit
Take notes and ask questions.
- Write down what the doctor tells you. Ask the doctor to explain, if you do not understand a medical term used, or to understand the recommendation of a particular treatment, or instructions for taking medication.
Ask what to expect from your treatment.
- Find out what the procedure will need from you. It’s effect on your daily activities, and time needed for recovery
Ask for more information to take home
- Ask your doctor if there are any brochures or website that you and your family members can discuss at home.
When You Get Home
Go through the materials the doctor gave you.
- If you have forgotten something, or are confused about something you have written down, call the doctor’s office and ask for assistance
Follow the doctor’s instructions.
- Take the full course of medication as prescribed by the doctor, as well as any diet or exercise prescribed.
Keep your doctor informed.
- Keep your doctor informed of test results, reaction to medicine, any worsening of your condition or any other complication