Being Prepared for Visits to the Doctor

April 26, 2012 / Laura Hart

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Molina Healthcare is always encouraging patients to go to their regular check-ups and take their children to well-child exams, but just showing up is not enough! It is important to be prepared. We all know how busy our doctors are, and so when they quickly ask, "Do you have any questions?" it is important to have thought through any concerns beforehand. Here are a few tips to be prepared and make the most of your appointments!

Before the appointment

  • Bring all the medicines you take (including prescription, over-the-counter and supplements). This will help your doctor know what types of medicine you’re taking so he or she won’t prescribe medicine that will counteract your current medication.
  • Write down questions you have for your doctor. If you can’t think of any, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) has a question builder to help.
  • Bring a health history that includes your current conditions and past surgeries or illnesses.

During the appointment

  • Don’t forget to ask your doctor those questions you brought and make sure you understand the answers you get. Take notes or ask your doctor to repeat something if you don’t understand.
  • It is very important to understand the plan or next steps that your doctor recommends. Make sure you know what your doctor wants you to do next and what you need to do to improve.
  • Ask for pamphlets, brochures, videos or any other information that could help.

After the appointment

  • Follow your doctor’s instructions and if you don’t understand something, call your doctor's office and ask.
  • If you have unexpected side effects or symptoms get worse, call your doctor.
  • Make follow up appointments if needed. I found all of these tips on the AHRQ's website. The website helps you create a personal questions list, as well as provide a medical glossary for those of us who don’t have a medical degree.

Category: Doctor's Visits