Six Key Tips for a Successful Doctor Appointment

This is a continuation to the blog “Is There a Right Time to Visit Your Doctor?”

So, you have chosen a doctor and made an appointment. May be you have waited weeks or months for this appointment and so it’s crucial to make the most of this consultation time. Often, patients will get only a modest amount of time with the doctor. Medical transcription services that are EHR-integrated are of great assistance for busy doctors to save their time for quality patient care. Whether you are starting with a new doctor or even continuing with the doctor you’ve been seeing for years, prepare a basic plan to make the most of your appointment. The following tips will make it easier for you and your doctor to cover everything you need to talk about.
Six Key Tips for a Successful Doctor Appointment

Consider these tips for a more successful and stress-free doctor visit.

Prioritize your concerns and make a list
You may not remember everything you have to ask. So try to make a list of all your concerns. Preparing and prioritizing key questions that you should ask can help you feel more confident when talking with your doctor. Also, you will get the answers and info for all your concerns.You can even hand the notes to your nurse or doctor, providing them time to prepare the answers. A recent WebMDarticle discussed studies that proved that patients who filled out a detailed checklist before an office visit asked more questions during their doctor visit and got more satisfaction from the visit.

Record instructions or note them if you can’t remember
If you think you can’t remember everything that a doctor says during consultation, record them via smartphone with the doctor’s permission. This audio can be replayed for better understanding of the instructions and information provided. If recording is not allowed, take notes of the key points the doctor says during the visit.

Get all your medications and records
If you are a new patient, share your medical history and discuss your illnesses, operations, and medical conditions. Make a list of all the medications you take, as it will be difficult to remember the exact names and dosages of your medications when your doctor asks. Along with prescribed medications, make sure to include all supplements you take such as over-the-counter sleep aids, and other pain medications. Remember to bring results of medical tests – blood tests, X-rays or scans recommended by the doctor.

Note your symptoms
While meeting your regular doctor, if there’s a new symptom that you need to bring to your doctor’s attention, make sure to take a symptom diary with you which should include all the details like – what does the symptom feel like, when does it occur, how long does it last and more. Such a symptom journal can help you and your doctor to spot patterns and identify triggers for your symptoms, leading to more effective medical treatment.

Provide time for doctor’s EHR documentation
While large practices rely on medical transcription outsourcing companies to get their documentation tasks done, in small practices doctors have to feed the consultation details into the electronic medical records themselves. So provide time for doctors to complete their documentation as well.

Bring a family member or close friend with you
It is best to let your family member or friend accompany you to the doctor. Make sure they know the purpose of the visit so that they can remind you what you planned to discuss with the doctor, in case you forget any key points. They may also help take notes for you and can later remind you of what the doctor said. They can also help you make important decisions.

Check your insurance coverage also before you meet the doctor. Make sure to double check your insurance coverage. Also, confirm that your doctor accepts your health insurance before your appointment. Doctors can also add value to their time with patients by following certain tips such as using better verbal communication techniques than non-verbal and using open-ended questions.

Julie Clements

About Julie Clements

Joined the MOS team in March of 2008. Julie Clements has background in the healthcare staffing arena; as well as 6 years as Director of Sales and Marketing at a 4 star resort. Julie was instrumental in the creation of the medical record review division (and new web site); and has especially grown this division along with data conversion of all kinds.