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How to Maximize Your Doctor's Appointments

 

How to Maximize your Doctor’s Appointments

Strains on North American public and private health care systems combined with increased medical demands from our aging population are just two of many factors that contribute to greater time constraints on family doctors.  As a patient, these time constraints can lead to feelings of dissatisfaction as you step outside the office door after your appointment.  Did I get enough attention?  Were all of my concerns addressed?  Am I confident with what I need to do from here?  For many of us, the answer to these questions is I don’t think so.
Here are a few simple steps you can take to ensure you make the most of your next doctor’s visit.
  1. Take Notes Ahead of Time.  Instead of trying to remember your symptoms, health changes or specific questions while you’re at your appointment, keep an ongoing notepad days, weeks or even months before it’s time to see your doctor.  As concerns arise in your day-to-day life, jot them down.  This way you are prepared for your appointment and don’t need to worry about forgetting important pieces of information when you’re there.
  2. Ask Questions.  Your health is not solely in the hands of your doctor.  It’s a two way street and it is up to you to take responsibility for your health or for the health of your elderly loved one.  Instead of taking a passive approach to your doctor’s appointments, take an active one.  Ask questions and get the answers you need to feel good about your personal wellbeing.
  3. Know your Current Medical Circumstances and History.  Be prepared for your doctor to ask you the names of medications you currently take.  Know what they are, why you take them and whether or not you experience any side effects as a result.  Knowledge of your family medical history is also helpful to your doctor so that he or she can treat you effectively.  In particular, you should know if you have a family history of diabetes, heart disease, cancer or other serious illnesses.
  4. Communicate the Reason for your Appointment.  The more accurate and thorough you can be about the reason for your booked appointment, the better.  Tell the receptionist about what you experiencing physically so that your doctor is prepared ahead of time.
  5. Be a Partner, not a Patient.  Talk to your doctor openly about your relationship with him or her.  Discuss any concerns or specific requests you may have.  Although your doctor is the expert, you can still play an integral role in the relationship to ensure that the medical service you receive is directly in line with your personal needs.
The day you view your doctor’s appointments a little differently, may just be the day you have a more satisfying visit.  By following these simple steps above, you can greatly improve your experience at the doctor’s office and have a better outlook on the healthcare you receive.
 

 

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