Sometimes you have to make a doctor’s appointment. Maybe you are seeing this doctor for the first time, or perhaps you are seeing a doctor you’ve already seen before. Either way, you need to prepare ahead of time to see your doctor so that your visit goes smoothly, and you get the most out of the appointment that you can.
Seeing a doctor isn’t just about showing up for the appointment. There is more involved than just making an appointment with a doctor and showing up. You need to prepare to see your doctor so you get the most out of the time you have with him.
Doctors are busy people. Some of them are busier than others; however, it doesn’t matter if your doctor is slammed with patients, or only has a few on his daily list, he doesn’t want his time wasted. It is up to you to see to it that you get the most out of the time you have with him.
- Scheduling your appointment – Getting the most out of your appointment starts with scheduling the appointment. When you schedule your appointment, be very clear about what it is you need to be seen for. If you have a specific reason why you need to be seen, tell the receptionist scheduling your appointment exactly what it is you want to be seen for. If you have a couple of reasons to be seen, give the receptionist the most important reason why you need to be seen, first, then you can tell her about the lesser significant reasons. Do not beat around the bush and do not list a ton of reasons for being seen. Just the most important will do.
- What to bring with you – Be sure to have the proper documentation with you. If this is a new doctor, you will need to bring your insurance information, along with your co-pay or other type of payment. You will also need copies of your records from other doctors, especially if the information is pertinent to the reason for this visit. Copies of your records include: Written records from other doctor’s visits, labwork results you had done, X-rays or scans you had, and names, numbers and addresses of any other physcian you have seen elsewhere, regarding this problem.
- Be on time – On the day of your appointment, it is pertinent you are on time. Doctors are very busy people and they will not wait for you. If you are late, you may have to reschedule your appointment, which can prolong getting answers and starting treatments. Doctors tend to get upset when their patients are late. When you are late, it tells your doctor that you don’t care about his time. He may think you are not serious about your health and your problem isn’t as big of a deal as you may think it is. Even if you have to sit in the waiting room and wait a bit, it is best and important to be on time — even early if you can.
- Follow your doctor’s orders – It is important that you follow your doctor’s orders; completely. If there is one thing physicians do not like, it is when their patients are non-compliant. Your doctor may think your complaints aren’t as serious as you may think they are, if you ignore his treatment plan and do not follow his orders. If you have real concerns about something he has ordered, be sure to bring that to his attention while you are there at your appointment, or as soon as possible. Do not wait until it’s time to show up for an appointment or test, elsewhere, that he has taken the time to schedule for you. If he has ordered a medication for you, be sure to take it as directed. Also, be sure to schedule any follow-up appointments he’s ordered, as soon as possible.
- Be clear on his plan of treatment before you leave his office – Before you leave your doctor’s office, be sure you have a clear understanding about your doctor’s plan of treatment. Be prepared to jot down a few notes while he explains his findings and treatment plans so you can refer to them later and won’t have to call multiple times to get answers. If you have a handheld tape recorder, let him know you’d like to record the visit so you can review it later and can avoid having to call the office for answers. This can be especially helpful if you have memory problems, or you just want to be able to refer to the visit and his instructions later. Most doctors will not mind that you record the visit. Another option is to bring someone with you to the appointment – a friend or family member, that can help you remember what you need to do. Sometimes, having two sets of ears can be beneficial in remembering details about your appointment.
The more diligent you are about your visit, the more it will show to your doctor that your health is important to you, and you take it seriously. When you take your health and your problem seriously, chances are, so will he. He will see that your problem and the reason for your visit, is a serious issue to you, and he will be more apt to take it as seriously as you do.