Can you remember your last doctor’s visit? While we tend to only visit the doctor when we’re sick, everyone should schedule regular medical checkups. Annual doctor checkups are important as they can help prevent or reduce the risk for chronic diseases and health conditions.
We understand that doctor visits can be timely and expensive, however it’s important to take the steps necessary to get the most out of each visit. Follow this simple guide to learn how to prepare for a medical consultation in the United States!
How to Make the Most Out of Your Next Visit to the Doctor
Did you know that it’s important to prepare your medical information before visiting the doctor? Here are some important items and information to have on hand BEFORE arriving at your consultation:
- When making an appointment, ask if any special preparation is required (such as fasting for a lab test).
- If this is your first appointment, bring your medical history with you.
- Make a list of the medications and/or supplements you’re taking.
- If the appointment is for one of your children, bring their vaccination history and ask your doctor about any missing vaccines.
- Ask a family member or friend to accompany you during your appointment.
During the Visit
Whether your next doctor’s appointment is online or in person, it’s important to know what to expect once you arrive. Here are a few things you can do to prepare for speaking with your doctor:
- Answer each of your doctor's questions clearly and accurately. If you don’t understand something, don’t be afraid to ask!
- Write a list of questions ahead of time to ask during your appointment. Make sure that each one of them is answered thoroughly.
- Ask how you can learn more about your own health care.
- Explain all of your medical concerns to the doctor. Don’t be embarrased about anything! What you share with the doctor is confidential, unless you provide consent.
- Make sure you can read the doctor’s handwriting in any prescriptions or medical instructions—it can be a little hard to decipher it sometimes. Be sure you understand how and when to take them.
After the Visit
Do you know what you should do after your visit? After your doctor’s appointment, it’s important to follow up on all instructions provided by your doctor. Here are a few important tips to keep in mind:
- Know how long your prescribed medication will last.
- Make sure your next visit is scheduled (in applicable).
- Make sure that any prescriptions have your name spelled correctly, the correct date, and your doctor's signature.
Remember, annual doctor visits are key to living a healthy life and taking care of your family’s health! As a patient, in the United States, you have the right to ask questions and understand everything the doctor tells you. By following these simple tips, you can get the most out of your doctor visits each and every time.