Patient Wisdom

Patient Wisdom

Question 16: How do you prepare for a doctor's appointment to ensure the best care? 


Factoid:  Take an active role in working with your doctor or nurse when you are ill. To help them find the right diagnosis (health problem), your doctor or nurse will need to:

1) Ask you questions about your current illness and medical history

2) Do a physical exam

3) Order some tests if needed

4) Come up with a list of possible diagnoses that may be causing you to feel ill and narrow it down

5) Recommend treatment for your illness


By following this checklist, you become a partner in finding the right diagnosis for you. 

Make a journal about your days good and bad. List what you have tried to do to ease your pain or symptoms and the medications through script or over the counter to keep an up to date list of your medications. Think about natural therapies and massage for scarring and adhesion that will wrap themselves around your organs, and [definitely] get physio. - Julie Scott


Have questions, write them down as they come to you, and bring them to the appointment with you. You'll forget if you try to keep them all in your head. Take good notes. - Emily Wilson


Write down a list of questions ahead of time and bring a pen and paper to the appointment to jot down notes. I usually do a brief literature review of the concerns I have to see if there are any new findings I want to discuss with my doctor. Bring something to pass the lengthy waiting room time so to avoid being frustrated when you see your doctor! - Dakota


Try to have all outside medical records sent ahead to doctor, for their review and preparation, for your appt, or at worst case, hand carry them with you. Bring someone else with you, as there will be so much information, and other things going on, it will help to have another set of ears, to aid with hashing it all out, later, when you are home. - Kelly Livingston


I make, and take, notes as to what my issues may be. I bring an updated medicine list with me as I am on medications that are prescribed by different doctors. I bring my husband (my heart, my soul, my rock of Gibralter) with me and he has a list of issues about me (if there are any) so that nothing slips through the cracks. - Betty Starr


Write down all the questions before your appointment. If I wasn't sure which questions to ask, I would ask someone else (from my family or an online support group) who has this condition what questions I should be asking. - Claire McIntosh


I bring along any recent test results from any labs that were not conducted at Mayo. I write down any issues I may be having so that I don't forget to mention them. - Georgia Hurst


I take lots of medical records with me. I read through my medical records a few days before my appointment. I want to know my medical records well before going to a new doctor. That way I can ask questions about what's effecting me now. - Teresa Weimer


Do your research so you know what the doctors are talking about. Also, keep all of your records, pathology reports from all appointments, and procedures. Make a list of any questions and concerns that you would like to address. - Brooke Porretti


Write down questions you want to ask the doctor. Often times you forget once you get to your appointment. Remember, no question is dumb. - Allison Brewer


Show up on time; have questions ready to ask. [Bring information pertaining to] treatments and medicines which are working and showing positive results. - Israel Gonzales, Jr


Prepare for the appointment by making a list if questions and making a list of documents that you need from your doctor. Create a binder with your notes and bring the binder to all your appointments. Always take notes! - Anonymous


Write all your questions down in a notebook and bring it with you as reference to every appointment. Doctor’s, often times, are in a rush. So let them know you have questions [and] please make time to answer them. Don't try and do it from memory, as odds are you will forget something. They will respect you came prepared. - Michelle Sutter


1. Do your homework. Make a list of questions before your appointments. Ask a spouse or friend to help you with this. 2. Do whatever physical "prep" is required, so you don't waste your time, your doctors' time, and your opportunity to discover information necessary for best treatment decisions. 3. Don't be afraid to ask clarifying questions. - Frank Rider


Write questions down in advance, educate yourself and be prepared to ask tough questions and demand answers! - Charlie Henricks


When ever I go in to the ER, I pack as if I am going to get admitted. This ensures that I have all I need if that happens. - Anonymous


I have a list of all my surgeries and medications. - Marguerite Winters


I usually end up with major panic/anxiety attacks a few days prior so [my] family doctor has me on meds for them. Still not easy and can't really prepare mentally that great. - April Wood


In my initial stages, I'd research as much as I could and write down every question I had when getting ready for an appointment. Pick the brain of your doctor. Don't be afraid to ask questions. - Brian Hanson


I have all my questions. I make a list of things I can/cannot do by experience (trial and error). - Sandra Redlands


I take notes before I go. I ask a list of questions. - Anonymous


Make a list, ask family what they want to know. Be sure to go over it and over it. - Sandy Miller


Write down questions for the doctors that way you wont forget once you get there. - Whitley Buckles


[I] make sure my prep work and labs are done on time and they have all the asked for info. - Kathryn Howard


I write down all of my questions and prior to the visit I email my doctors if I have lengthy questions or things I think he may like to know before I see him. - Suzanne Pilon

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