Doctors are busy people ,and have a limited amount of time to spend with you. What can you do to make the most of this precious time ? If you forget to ask an important question, there’s no point in kicking yourself afterwards about this !
The trick is simple – you need to do your homework and to prepare before you doctor’s visit.
These are the 8 things you need to take with you to your doctor, to help him maximize his efficiency !
1. A one page summary of your medical record. First, arrange all your medical records ( consultations, hospital discharge summaries, lab reports and so on) in reverse chronological order. Then, after doing this, prepare a one-page summary, which highlights the medically important events in chronological order. This ensures your doctor gets an accurate overview of your medical history in a few seconds, and that nothing is overlooked. It will save you a lot of time – and will save your doctor a lot of frustration. If you well organized, he will not need to extract information from you painfully – you’ll be able to provide him what he needs gracefully !
2. Make sure your records are complete. Carry all your original X-rays . If your surgery has been recorded on a CD, please carry a copy of this CD, so you can leave it with him. If your records have become voluminous, you might want to scan them in and save them on a CD or flash drive.
3. Rehearse what you want to say. Carry a note pad with a list of your questions , so you don’t forget any in the stress of the consultation.
4. Carry all your medicines in a brown bag. This is very helpful when you are taking many medicines. Many of these may be unnecessary – while others may interact harmfully with each other. A brownbag review of your medicines will allow your doctor to check what medicines are essential – and which ones you can stop.
5. Money ; and your insurance details. You need to pay for your medical care, and the better organized you are, the easier it is for you to ensure that your treatment costs are reimbursed quickly. Insurance companies are very big on paperwork, which is why you need to be prepared for handling this efficiently.
6. Take a relative or friend with you. The stress of a consultation can cause you to forget important details; or get confused when the doctor bombards you with instructions and floods you with jargon. A friend can act as a patient advocate, who can help to provide clarity; and help both the doctor and you by acting as a valuable intermediary!
7. If you’ve spent a lot of time on the internet researching your problem, carry a summary of your printouts , so the doctor can help you make sense of conflicting information which may cause you needless anxiety
8. A novel or ipod or laptop to read or listen to while you are waiting patiently in the reception area can help you reduce your anxiety levels and keep your calm when the doctor is running late
If you are well organized, it’s easier for the doctor to look after you well.