Fitness Facts: Preparing for a medical visit
By Connie Colbert
Director, Canyon Health and Wellness Clinic
Have a medical visit coming up? It is important to be prepared to get the most out of it.
Sometimes the visits can feel rushed or your nerves can get the best of you, so being prepared can help. Here are some helpful tips.
Prior to arriving:
Make a list of your concerns, allergies and current medications, including vitamins and over-the-counter medications such as Acetaminophen and ibuprofen.
Know your family medical history.
Know your current medical conditions, including past surgeries, hospitalizations and illnesses. It is good to keep a document on your computer or phone as a reminder.
Jot down specifics of your symptoms: when they started, what makes them better, what makes them worse, what you have used to treat your symptoms, etc.
Write down questions you have for the medical provider.
Bring a trusted family or friend.
Bring a notebook or something to keep notes with during the appointment.
During the visit:
Ask questions to make sure you understand. (No question is stupid. As the old saying goes, “The only stupid question is the one that is not asked.”). Let’s face it, this is your health and you deserve to feel comfortable asking questions.
If you do not feel comfortable with a suggested plan, ask about alternative options.
Let the medical provider know if you are pregnant, nursing or have had certain reactions to medications, vitamins or foods.
Make sure you understand your diagnosis and any treatments. Ask your health care provider to write down his or her instructions to you. If you still have trouble understanding, ask where you can go for more information.
Patients who talk to their medical provider tend to be happier with their care and have better medical results.
The AHRQ (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality) suggests 10 questions you should know if the medical provider orders tests, medications or surgery.
- What is the test for?
- How many times have you done this procedure?
- When will I get the results?
- Why do I need this treatment?
- Are there any alternatives?
- What are the possible complications?
- Which hospital is best for my needs?
- How do you spell the name of that drug?
- Are there any side effects?
- Will this medicine interact with medicines that I’m already taking?
After the visit:
Follow the instructions given.
Call your medical provider if …
You have additional questions or are unclear about the directions.
You experience any side effects or problems with medications.
Your symptoms worsen.
You did not receive test results or have questions about your test results.
You are starting a new medication prescribed by another medical provider.
Do not forget to follow up as requested!
Be involved in your care, don’t be a bystander.