7 Ways to Improve Your Doctor's Visit

1) Adopt the Right Attitude

  • Your health comes first
  • It's more important than fine manners or feeling stupid

2) Take Someone With You!

  • For support
  • To remember your agenda when your mind goes blank
  • To take notes
  • As another set of ears: only 10% of medical information is retained

3) List Your "Current Issues"

  • List only 2 or 3 problems per visit
  • Fill in plenty of details, but be concise
  • Aim for 2-3 sentences per problem and 1/2 page total
  • Give the list to the doctor's assistant

4) Summarize the Visit

  • Repeat back each of the main points before the visit ends
  • Allows the doctor to see where further explanation is needed
  • Reminds the doctor about points he or she has missed

5) Ask Questions

  • Try to ask at least one per visit to encourage flow of information
  • But try not to pepper the doctor with questions

6) Take Notes

  • Jot down topics to research later
  • Write down all unknown words and ask for the correct spelling
  • Ask for written material - handouts, pamphlets, etc.

7) Know Your Medical History

  • Get records from your doctors, clinics, and hospitals for the last 5 years
  • Include a separate list of your medications
  • Keep your records updated